F-35 in a Possible 2030 Future by an Australian Reporter

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Unread post30 May 2011, 20:55

Defending the future by David Ellery - Defence Reporter 28 May, 2011

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/op ... torypage=0

"It is the year 2030, just 19 years from now. Climate change has started to bite with droughts and crop failures becoming increasingly common across the globe.
Peak oil is a distant memory and the price per barrel regularly hits $US300 and more.

The Asian economic miracle has ground to a halt in the face of collapsing markets for cheap consumer goods as the West becomes poorer in real terms.

Developed economies are grappling with spiralling energy bills, a GFC that shows no signs of abating and the mounting cost of providing advanced medical and geriatric care for ancient baby boomers not yet ready to say goodbye to life.

To Australia's north, former friends and allies have turned ugly as changing circumstances have toppled once-moderate governments, replacing them with extremist nationalist regimes.

Decimated by AIDS, other plagues and famine, much of Africa has long since been carved up for its natural resources into Chinese, Pakistani and Indian spheres of influence.

The scramble for the ice-locked resources of Antarctica has already begun.

One of the last other largely unexploited areas on the face of the planet is directly to Australia's north the massive, mineral rich, and mountainous island divided into the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya and the former Australian protectorate of Papua New Guinea.

The PNG government is on the brink of collapse. The country's urban centres have been destabilised by the arrival of thousands of refugees from the islands of Polynesia and Micronesia hit by rising sea levels and that the Australian Government is paying the Papuans to resettle.

Irian Jaya is equally vulnerable with a home-grown independence movement gaining ground as an increasingly fragmented Indonesia teeters on the brink of a fundamentalist Islamist revolution.

It is May 7, the 88th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea and, once again, Australian forces have been ordered north to block an invasion fleet headed for Port Moresby.

Leading the Australian charge is a force of unseen, but all-seeing, eyes: two squadrons of fifth-generation, fully stealthed, RAAF F-35 Joint Strike Fighters cruising 15km above the earth.

Based at Amberley in Queensland, they can be refuelled in flight and are in constant communication with the RAAF's Wedgetail early warning aircraft. They are invisible to potential enemies except for a few brief moments when the weapon-bay doors flick open to launch air-to-air and air-to-ship missiles.

The planes, the most tactically and strategically capable fighter-bombers operating in the southern hemisphere, are every enemy fleet captain's worst nightmare.

This is especially the case when their revolutionary sensor and communications suites are meshed with those used aboard the Wedgetails and the four equally stealthy Collins-class submarine replacements that lie across the invasion fleet's line of advance.

As the enemy force passes the Solomons, the Australian pilots turn on their transponders.

Threat indicators light up on bridges and in combat control centres across the approaching fleet.

Stunned by the speed and strength of the Australian response, the task force turns away just as the Japanese did in 1942 when they learned a cruiser task force and a carrier group were lying in wait.

They know that if they press on, they risk the fate Winston Churchill promised the Nazi invasion fleet mustered against Britain in the summer of 1940 to be drowned at sea with any survivors to be knocked on the head as they staggered ashore.

This, while it may sound like something out of a Tom Clancy novel, is quite possibly the type of scenario the Howard government had in mind when, in 2002, it signed up for what has become the most expensive weapons program in history the much-maligned $1.3 trillion Joint Strike Fighter program.

Australia is one of a raft of nations set to spend up to $400 billion on more than 3000 planes and then another $900 billion to keep them flying to 2040 and beyond.

The acquisition cost for an estimated 100 Australian JSF's has been estimated at $16 billion and the first Australian-delivery planes are expected to be ready by 2016 and 2017.

While some would argue such a spend is hard to justify in a time of comparative peace, past experience including Australia's lack of preparedness for the Japanese threat in the decade leading up to WWII suggests there could be a flaw in that line of reasoning.

Defence planning is based on emerging military capabilities and potential threats; it is not limited to whom you like or dislike at any given time and takes into account emerging issues such as the likely political impact of climate change.

''Relationships change,'' Air Vice Marshal Kym Osley, the man managing Australia's JSF acquisition program, told The Canberra Times.

''The strategic risk of having a gap in air combat capability [between Australia and other regional powers] is one the Government has already indicated it will not accept. Australia has always gone for a capability edge [within the region].''

It is for this reason the F-35, not the Super Hornet or the even faster and more powerful but much more costly F-22 Raptor stealth fighter recently advocated by Air Power Australia, was chosen to replace the ''classic'' Hornets and the much-loved, but once highly controversial, F-111s as the backbone of Australia's air deterrence force for the first half of the 21st century.

Unlike the enemy fighters likely to be arrayed against them in our hypothetical battle for Port Moresby a mixed bag of ageing American-built F-16s, Russian-Indian Sukhoi Su30 variants, Russian MiG 29s and MiG 35s and Chinese Chengdu J-10s and likely accident-prone Chengdu J-20s stealth fighters the F-35s are expected to deliver their pilots unrivalled situational awareness.

This is the key to their ability to operate in what is called a ''network-centric'' combat environment a concept dating back to the ''super wing'' developed by the RAF during World War II. Then, under the direction of Douglas Bader, heavy concentrations of fighters were fought as a single unit to smash Luftwaffe bomber formations.

The strategic doctrine, likely to be as valid in 2030 as it was 71 years ago, is for controllers to take information from many sources to make strategic decisions which can then be communicated to the fighters. What sets the JSF apart is that any given pilot has all the information and can also act as a controller.

Coordinated responses allowing the F-35 to use its networking ability to draw on a wide range of resources including surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), ship-to-air missiles and even other aircraft will be the order of the day.

An F-35 threatened by an enemy fighter could, for example, respond by having that plane shot down by another aircraft or a SAM battery the attacker isn't even aware of.

This provides what is known as a force-multiplication effect.

The pilot could even launch a missile at an enemy to his rear or off to one side without having to change direction.

Air Vice Marshal Osley, an avowed F-35 enthusiast, said that while the plane would perform about the same as a ''legacy'' F-18 Hornet in a classic dog fight, its other capabilities including stealth technology meant it shouldn't have to get into one.

He said that unlike the Battle of Britain pilots and their Korean, Vietnamese and Gulf War successors the RAAF's JSF jockeys will sit at the heart of a remarkable data ''bubble'' the likes of which have never been seen before.

While the exact size is classified, the bubble will extend for hundreds of kilometres in every direction. Pilots will know what is happening on the ground including which vehicles belong to whom; what is happening in the air including who is a friend and who is a foe and, if they are over the sea, what ships are where and the directions in which they are travelling.

It is, in short, the extension of the information revolution to aerial combat.

The JSF's powerful onboard computers have the ability to pull in radar and infra-red imagery, live camera feeds and even visual imagery from other planes and merge them together into a coherent image. The information and the changing images are conveyed to the pilot through displays on the inside of his or her helmet.

As the pilot's head moves so does the image even to the extent they can look down and ''see'' through the floor of the plane.

The use of many sophisticated external sensors means the JSF doesn't even have to be pointing at what it is firing its missiles at, a distinct edge over most if not all existing combat aircraft.

Speech-recognition technology is also expected to be used to allow the pilot to issue voice commands a first for an American fixed-wing combat aircraft.

''In the past you would have had to be aboard an AWACS [Aircraft Warning and Control System] or in an operations centre on the ground to have this much information,'' Air Vice-Marshal Osley said.

He is not concerned by the fact that the F-35 can't fly as far or as fast as the planes it replaces. Both the F-111 and the F-18 Hornet were designed to operate with wing-mounted fuel tanks. While such tanks can be fitted to the F-35, the plane is not stealthed while they are in place, which is why the main fuel load and the weapons are tucked away inside the fuselage.

These design limitations will apply to its future competitors currently under development in China and Russia and India.

A former F-111 navigator who clocked up almost 2000 hours in the plane affectionately known as ''The Pig'', Air Vice-Marshal Osley said the venerable swing-wing fighter bomber's top speed of Mach 2.5 as opposed to Mach 1.6 for the F-35 was largely academic in today's operational environment.

''I only travelled at Mach 2.5 in an F-111 a couple of times and it was not a comfortable experience,'' he said. ''At that speed you only had 11 or 12 minutes of flight time.''

The high top speed had a single purpose to allow the massive fighter bomber to get out of Dodge ASAP after it completed its mission.

''No-one fights at Mach 2,'' he said.

According to the Defence Materiel Organisation, the F-35 substitutes stealth for speed, has undisclosed electronic warfare countermeasures and an iPhone-like ability to network with its friends.

And, if push comes to shove, its speed and aerobatic capability are such it can bring a gun to a knife fight.

''The F-35's air combat maneuverability is considered excellent by senior weapons and tactics operators,'' Air Vice-Marshal Osley said. ''It can mix it with any aeroplane currently in service but its real forte is its ability to act as an information node.''

This capability, expected to be the F-35's greatest strength when it goes into service, is proving its greatest weakness during the development phase.

Just as the F-111 did almost 50 years ago, the F-35 is pushing the existing boundaries and pioneering new technologies.

It has more lines of computer code than any aircraft ever built before and the ''you-beaut'' helmet, without which the bird won't fly, is taking longer to perfect than expected.

Air Vice-Marshal Osley said this was a schedule risk, not a capability risk.

A performance-car enthusiast and someone who obviously enjoyed his time flying aboard one of the fastest planes ever built, he told The Canberra Times the argument for the F-35 was remarkably similar to the argument for the F-111 two generations ago to maintain the air-power capability gap over potential rivals within the region.

Compromise proposals including scaling back F-35 purchases to buy more Super Hornets just aren't an option.

''I'm here to deliver the JSF, not a mixed fleet,'' he said. ''A mixed fleet might be cheaper to acquire but would ultimately cost more to maintain.
''
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post30 May 2011, 22:18

Nice article
Antarctica in case of Australia, but the same like the North pole is melting; oil and new
corridors for merchant ships.
Thus could give tensions in the nearby future.


Every country calculates in a different way, also the circumstances will diver.
Still some question about the Australian counted “average” prize per F35

100 F35’s: AUD 16 billion = US$17 billion
Per f35 all in: US$170 million

A lot more, all in, per f35 then calculated by the Dutch.
But may be this has also to do, to some degree, with for example weapons included?
(The Dutch don’t use weapons included in the cost per F35)

Also a Australian IOT&E included?
Calculation Dutch, a Dutch IOT&E for 85 F35’s: ±€200 million (=US$285 million)
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Unread post30 May 2011, 23:11

"Threat indicators light up on bridges and in combat control centres across the approaching fleet."

The Chinese respond with bistatic radar guided SAMs and carrier launched fighters.

-HJC
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Unread post30 May 2011, 23:21

The religious global warming fanatics are in full force down here. :lol:

That and the carbon tax fraud which if it wasn't proposed by the government would be seen as a white collar crime punishable by jail time.
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Unread post30 May 2011, 23:24

m asked about IOT&E for Australia. I believe this question is answered here:

http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopi ... rt-15.html

"...The RAAF doesn’t plan to duplicate the OT&E carried out in the US or re-validate the qualification and clearance flying that has already been done by the US operators.... "
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hcobb, yes - looks like potential PLAN carrier fleet was forgotten. Trouble with an RAAF-centric reporter exchange with RAAF AVM. :D To be fair though perhaps 'invasion fleet' covers the carrier scenario but that possibility should have been highlighted I agree.
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post30 May 2011, 23:38

hcobb wrote:"Threat indicators light up on bridges and in combat control centres across the approaching fleet."

The Chinese respond with bistatic radar guided SAMs and carrier launched fighters.

-HJC


Su-33's (or J-15's if you wish) should hardly be able to detect/engage an F-35 early enough to prevent ASM launch. And on the subject of bistatic radar, is the relative size of a task force large enough to enable sufficient separation of transmitter and reciever to make the concept worthwhile?

HV
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Unread post31 May 2011, 00:21

Don't forget those 4 subs lying in ambush as well.. its a multi-dimensional deterrent. Refreshing to have a scenario where US forces aren't a factor, at least not yet.. maybe the author takes the story to the next level and there's a round 2 in this showdown.
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Unread post31 May 2011, 00:31

popcorn, (Oz Subs always forgotten) this was in the Oz Media today.....

Defence white paper wrong, says US officer Deborah Snow
May 31, 2011

http://www.smh.com.au/national/defence- ... 1fd02.html

"A SENIOR US army officer serving with General David Petraeus's headquarters in Kabul is set to challenge decades of Australian strategic orthodoxy.

In a radical address to the Lowy Institute this week, Colonel John Angevine will argue that the core assumptions underlying the Rudd government's 2009 Defence white paper are wrong, and that Australia should not structure its defence force around the remote possibility of having to fight a major conflict alone. He wants the US to renounce the Guam doctrine enunciated by President Richard Nixon in 1969, which called on America's allies to assume ''primary responsibility'' for their own defence if attacked.

Instead, Colonel Angevine argues the alliance between Washington and Canberra will become ''the No.1 alliance'' as China and India rise - more important to the US even than NATO or Britain.

The US should thus make plain its role as guarantor of Australian security, allowing Canberra to soften the concept of defence self-reliance (known as the ''defence of Australia'' doctrine) which has underpinned the nation's strategic thinking since the late 1970s.

This would free Australia to spend less on multibillion-dollar high-end defence capabilities, such as the 12 new submarines envisaged by the white paper, and more on lower-level capabilities such as an improved amphibious arm which would have greater relevance to the region. [WITH F-35Bs! Remember how 2 Otways made way for ten more A4Gs?]

[“Eight British Oberon class submarines were ordered in 1964, to be built in Scotland in two batches of four boats. Only six boats were delivered; the seventh & eighth were cancelled in 1971 to fund the acquisition of ten [extra] A-4G Skyhawk aircraft for the Fleet Air Arm.” 10+10=20 Total]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Aust ... ne_Service]

Speaking to the Herald from Kabul, Colonel Angevine said the 2009 white paper set a ''strategy for Australian defence force modernisation that does not correspond to the realities of Australia's security situation''.

''The more Australia pursues the high-end capabilities the more dependent on the US you become for the lower and middle contingencies on the continuum of war. It's the exact opposite of what you want.''

He said these were his personal views as the current holder of a Brookings Institution fellowship, not those of the US government or army.

Colonel Angevine says the white paper's assumptions were based on ''questions over the reliability and utility of the ANZUS alliance'' which the US should dispel.

His paper highlights the intellectual freedom allowed to US military officers, in contrast to the muted debate allowed serving officers in this country."
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Defence strategy 'out of touch' with region

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011 ... 231216.htm

"A new report says Australia's defence strategy is out of touch with regional security risks, and recommends high-end military projects be reconsidered.

US Army Colonel John Angevine's report for the Lowy Institute concludes that Australia must stop thinking it can "go it alone" in defending itself.

Colonel Angevine argues Australia's current approach could be weakening the ANZUS alliance, and he says it should instead return to a more multilateral approach in the Asia-Pacific region.

He says Australia is preparing for large-scale conflicts that are least likely to happen.

He recommends Australia reconsiders plans for the controversial $8 billion air warfare destroyers, and scales back the number of new submarines.

The report also suggests Australia should lease US submarines and provide bases for American F-22 Raptor jet fighters, while adding 4,000 soldiers to the Army."
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post31 May 2011, 00:39

spazsinbad wrote:m asked about IOT&E for Australia. I believe this question is answered here:

http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopi ... rt-15.html

"...The RAAF doesn’t plan to duplicate the OT&E carried out in the US or re-validate the qualification and clearance flying that has already been done by the US operators.... "
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hcobb, yes - looks like potential PLAN carrier fleet was forgotten. Trouble with an RAAF-centric reporter exchange with RAAF AVM. :D To be fair though perhaps 'invasion fleet' covers the carrier scenario but that possibility should have been highlighted I agree.


When not joining IOT&E, Australia will have to do a kind of IOT&E themselves.
Though, I thought there was an intention to join (2014?) the IOT&E by Australia, with two IOT&E F35`s?

The main reason the Dutch joined the IOT&E, this would cost them at least €200 million doing this on their own, with a Dutch IOT&E.
Doesn’t matter ordering the F35, or ordering any other jet.
A IOT&E on their own would cost them some two or three years, after introduction first F35’s, to get the F35 fully operational.
Joining IOT&E, they calculated to have at least 8 F35’s fully capable for a mission within a year.

Another reason, they good do a IOT&E on their own, but would not get the same high results as with the US and the UK.

It has nothing to do with duplicating. Most of what is learned during IOT&E, is for IOT&E members eyes only.
When it was for free, the Dutch would certainly not spend €270 million joining US IOT&E.

Not only specifically tactics, weapon use, flying etc. will be learned, but a lot will be learned how to maintain the aircraft.
Also al lot of knowledge will be experienced about for instance spares and what is important to order and what will be less needed to order.
Ordering the F35, for instance better knowledge will be acquainted a drag chute will be necessary or not.
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Unread post31 May 2011, 00:43

I've read that predictions were made in the 1930's that we would run out of oil in the 1950's. I remember predictions from the 1970's which claimed peak oil supply would occur around 1995. I believe there are more known recoverable oil reserves today than ever.

BTW, I also remember predictions that the world was about to enter a new ice age, that we were entering an age of chronic fresh water shortages, and that mass starvation was right around the corner.

The gloom and doom, end of the world predictors are always there in the background. They do seem to be multiplying and be taken more seriously these days though. I blame that on the rise progressivism, which relies on fear to convince gullible citizens, educated in state run progressive schools, to turn over their money and power to progressive governments and NGO's in order for them to be saved from the impending "catastrophe". :roll:
Last edited by stereospace on 31 May 2011, 01:56, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread post31 May 2011, 01:18

Let's just hope actual blue force military/intel and Defence ministry decider-type strategists (let alone diplomatic agencies) are instead contemplating and contingency planning for such hypothetical mayhem by say 2018, not the flawed, best-case 2030 'now we're finally ready you can come and get us now' scenario.

Hence just one major 'oops' when placing so much assumption and borderline religious faith on the stay-the-course F-35 Program (largely incentivized by dreamy industrial exploits and offset wealth).

As far as the exact above scenario highlighting Port of Moresby doomsday goes though, arguably better strategic planning might ponder long-endurance VLO UCAV and sub-launched cm assets deterring such invasion fleets far beyond their respective day-one stand-off salvo ranges. And of course, you'll need some Growler types to back up those F-35s hanging anti-ship mod JASSM-ERs and/or JSOW class munitions... doh. Which brings up an interesting point too, how many ASM type JASSM-ER could be procured for the price of 3-5 LRIP bought F-35s?

The black and white reasoning behind F-35-or-bust mindset (pre-conception) is the continued risk going forward. Plug that into the computer model. God speed...
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Unread post31 May 2011, 01:23

m, it perhaps would be beneficial to add this quote from the same source (I was presuming you would go read the full item or even the full thread - maybe you did and maybe you did not).

"Last year’s announcement that the ADF would order 14 F-35A Lightning IIs has initiated a gradual build-up of the training and sustainment environment required to support these aircraft in service.

The 14 aircraft are being acquired as part of initial annual Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) lots, with the first two coming from LRIP6 for delivery in 2014.

The final four of these initial aircraft will be delivered to Australia in 2017 to conduct Australian-specific Initial Operational Test."
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post31 May 2011, 02:55

Spaz, my impression is that the US-Australia strategic relationship is a strong and active one that seems to becoming even tighter in the future. I look forward to Global Hawk, AEGIS BMD and other advanced capabilities to be adopted in the future. In a worst case scenario where US intervention may be required, Australia would be more than able to carry its own weight.
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Unread post31 May 2011, 03:52

geogen wrote:Let's just hope actual blue force military/intel and Defence ministry decider-type strategists (let alone diplomatic agencies) are instead contemplating and contingency planning for such hypothetical mayhem by say 2018, not the flawed, best-case 2030 'now we're finally ready you can come and get us now' scenario.

Hence just one major 'oops' when placing so much assumption and borderline religious faith on the stay-the-course F-35 Program (largely incentivized by dreamy industrial exploits and offset wealth).

As far as the exact above scenario highlighting Port of Moresby doomsday goes though, arguably better strategic planning might ponder long-endurance VLO UCAV and sub-launched cm assets deterring such invasion fleets far beyond their respective day-one stand-off salvo ranges. And of course, you'll need some Growler types to back up those F-35s hanging anti-ship mod JASSM-ERs and/or JSOW class munitions... doh. Which brings up an interesting point too, how many ASM type JASSM-ER could be procured for the price of 3-5 LRIP bought F-35s?

The black and white reasoning behind F-35-or-bust mindset (pre-conception) is the continued risk going forward. Plug that into the computer model. God speed...


Lucky it's not an and/or situation, Geo. Australia is funding it's F-35 and future air-launched weapons projects separately.

We have a new BVR air to air missile acquisition project.

We have a JDAM enhancement project (JDAM-ER and Laser JDAM).

We have a Small Diameter Bomb acquisition project.

We have a multi-phased follow-on standoff missile (JASSM and JASSM-ER) acquisition project.

We have a next generation (beyond Harpoon Block II) anti-ship missile acquisition project.

We have an on-going JSOW C/C1 acquisition project.

We also have a submarine and surface ship launched cruise missile acquisition project and I have no doubt Australian strategic planners will look at long ranged LO UCAV solutions. In fact they may do so, before we sign up for our 4th squadron of F-35's. That capability is not yet set in stone. Only the initial 3 squadrons plus OCU and OTE and attrition aircraft (72 aircraft in total) are confirmed so far.

If something like the X-47 or X-45 were to become operational within USAF or USN before that decision had to be made, then I have no doubt it would be looked at very strongly.

Fortunately the Super Hornets mean we don't have to rush a decision on that, we've got 12 years at least to consider such things...

These are all funded separately from each other and separately to the F-35. It is not the case that we will have to trade off these capabilities against each other to acquire them (apart perhaps from scheduling issues for weapons integration realities etc), in 2018 or 2030.
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Unread post31 May 2011, 04:41

geogen wrote:Let's just hope actual blue force military/intel and Defence ministry decider-type strategists (let alone diplomatic agencies) are instead contemplating and contingency planning for such hypothetical mayhem by say 2018, not the flawed, best-case 2030 'now we're finally ready you can come and get us now' scenario.


I wonder why they would be planning for any particular year?

However let us look at the major platform based capabilities that RAAF will have in 2018.

Super Hornet will be in FOC. It will have benefitted from at least one block upgrade to it's sensor suite (radar, ATFLIR and EW system) and it's air to air and air to ground weapon systems will have been improved under the previously mentioned programs (most plan IMR by 2016 - initial material release).

So in 2018 Super Hornet will have a new BVR weapon and upgraded AIM-9X Bk2, upgraded JDAM, SDB and JSOW. It may also have the new anti-ship missile but that decision hasn't been made yet.

Introduction to service of F-35 will be well underway and it is likely that at least a squadron's worth of F-35A's will have reached IOC within RAAF, plus our enabling capabilities in terms of 2 OCU and other training systems will be well established.

The Hornets will be beginning to wind down operations with at least 1 squadron removed from service. At least 2 squadrons wih the best remaining aircraft (in terms of airframe life) will still be in-service. They will have benefitted from JDAM and BVR missile updates by that time and will have achieved FOC several years before-hand on all their HUG capabilities including their Israeli made EW systems.

Their operational capabilities will still be strong at that point and RAAF's will be expanding signficantly with Super Hornet improvements and the introduction of F-35A's.

Wedgetail AEW&C will have reached FOC several years before-hand and will be entering it's own Block upgrade project.

KC-30A refuellers will have reached FOC and will likely be in their own Block upgrade for comms, ESM, networking, avionics and EW self protection systems.

RAAF project Vigilaire C&C system will be in FOC for several years by then (IOC has already been reached) and will be undertaking Block upgrades.

JORN will be in FOC (as it is today) and will be in Block upgrade.

A fleet of at least 5 C-17A's will be at FOC by then and Block upgrades underway.

At least 12 C-130's will be in-service then and possibly more with the mooted special forces enhancements to the H models potentially being approved by then and in-service alongside the 'regular' J fleet. Studies into replacing the J fleet will also be underway.

A deliveries of C-27J or C-295M will have commenced by then. IOC will likely have been achieved or will be very close.

TPS-77 radars will be in FOC and in Block upgrade.

AP-3C's will be through their current Block upgrade and will be close to winding down their service as the new P-8A's will be close to or already at IOC by then.

RAAF's planned satellite based surveillance system will be in-service and it's WGS system and broader system access will be in FOC.

It's acquisition of a BAMS UAV system will be in progress with deliveries occurring or close to occurring by then.

All these platforms will be networked extensively through Link 16 and RAAF will be in the process of introducing it's follow-on networking system, Link 22 or similar.

This is just RAAF, other ADF services have similarly large enhancements in train. Overall we are doing very nicely as a force I think and with only 1.9% GDP (and falling) providing for it. If we actually felt threatened, this would increase and so would overall ADF capability...
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