Thanks for the detailed feedback, Timothy. Always interesting to get another perspective.
You're welcome. I've commented before that in many ways, a well thought out smaller force can be more interesting than even what I end up sketching out for some of my ideas.
Edit: Yeah, I really like this as an idea, as these small forces can be a solid exercise in diving down and looking at what the actual mission
of the military in question is going to be when there are at most very limited existential threats. In the case of the Illes Balears I think that the missions they have are:
- Support of civil authorities (police, fire, medical, ect)
- Sovereignty enforcement (air and ocean patrol)
- Support of allied nations (NATO?, UN, EU, ect)
The last implies certain obligations (which the C-27Js help fill), but also a likelihood that, if deployed, the air force will have support, and won't have to bring everything they need to the party. It's why I think that they can get away with tanker kits on the C-27Js.
But to answer your question (and linked to what Timothy posted), I was thinking of the largest aircraft being the Embraer KC-390 (only having 2) as a strategic transport, but to honest, that's probably too big an investment and capability beyond what is needed. A few more C-27J's would probably be wiser, but I'll think about it. Similar story with MPA capability, I was initially thinking of ATR-42/72, but downsized to M28 as a more economical solution and better suited to serve across a variety of roles too. Thinking about the fighter fleet is the biggest challenge... I still haven't quite decided on whether to have a small squadron of cheaper dedicated fighters (Gripen, Mirage?) or a bigger fleet of advanced trainers (Hawk, M346, MB339) with some dedicated to air defence and strike. Typhoon/Tornado/Rafale are out of the question (too expensive), but could Jaguar, AMX, Hawk 200 be suitable?
Would be interested to hear feedback.
Not directed at me directly, but I think that in a cost-benefit analysis, the existing 'fighter' is going to drive to the advanced trainer - rapidly. Maybe early model hawks and second-hand AMXes are planned to be replaced with M346s? I also don't see more than one or two squadrons available. Maybe
a third in reserve.
On PC-12, yes I agree that it's another similar platform and probably wouldn't make sense for the Balearics. I just fancied seeing what it would look like to be honest, and thought it could make a good successor to Defender. I need to plan a proper in-service timeline for the air force, but I'm thinking that old Defenders could be replaced by a smaller number of Spectres, and the air force would lose it's AEW capability. Alternatively, I'm thinking I could put a side scanning AESA radar on top of a PC-24 (see Embraer have proposed Praetor 600 as compact bizjet AEW), unless it makes more sense to modify the M28 as a larger platform, to perform compact EW, ISR & AEW (albeit not as capable as much larger and more expensive aircraft).
An AEW version of the PC-24 or M28 combined with a retirement of the Defenders sounds like a good option - certainly if it allows expansion of the number of existing types.
C-27J was an easy choice. I'm trying to think about politics too, and am aligning the Balearic Islands (from an aerospace industry perspective) with the UK and Italy, and certainly not being part of the 'EADS/Airbus club'. In line with real life now and the FCAS/Tempest programmes, I'm imagining two distinct European aerospace groups of France-Germany-Spain, and on the other hand UK-Italy-Sweden(-Netherlands maybe?) with the Balearic Islands AU aligned with the latter. I'm also steering away from Spanish aircraft (nothing personal!), as I think that in this AU, there would be some friction between the two countries (think much milder version of China + Taiwan, but don't want to be supporting each other's industries) - which rules out CN-235/C-295 as originally CASA aircraft. I think you're right about a sovereign tanker fleet being a step too far, but having buddy kits for C-27J's, good idea, thanks.
I had suspected as much with the focus on Swiss and Italian aircraft. As for the tanker kits, I'd offer a suggestion of grabbing the pylons off of Little Bird's Preatorian
, and the hose and drogue kit off of Yqueleden's KC-390
Yes, I do need to think about basic trainers. My initial thoughts were that they'd get aircraft from Italy or the UK (second hand, or a joint order?) - so SF260 or Tutor/Prefect. I've had some experience with Diamond aircraft (lovely cabin, better than any Cessna/Piper), so might be biased toward choosing them, DA20/40 for basic single and DA42 for twin engine training would be a good combination.
Sounds like you have it covered!