6 RAAF Supers to Growlers (Fewer F-35s?)

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spazsinbad

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Unread post22 Feb 2012, 10:44

$200m refit to give fighter jets growl by: Ian McPhedran Feb 22, 2012

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/nati ... 6277576058

“THE Federal Government will spend more than $200 million to transform six air force fighter jets into hi-tech electronic warfare planes. The RAAF purchased 24 Boeing Rhino fighters under a $6 billion deal with the US Navy to fill the gap between the retirement of the F-111 fighter bomber and the expected delivery of the first batch of 14 Joint Strike Fighter stealth jets later this decade....

...Meanwhile, Mr Smith is facing criticism from air force brass for his move to buy 12 more Rhinos to cover the likely delay into service of up to 70 Australian JSFs. A decision is due by September this year, but the RAAF is arguing against more Rhinos because they fear that will leave less funds for Joint Strike Fighters.

"The RAAF doesn't want to run two types of fighter jets," a source said.
...”
Last edited by spazsinbad on 22 Feb 2012, 12:23, edited 1 time in total.
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thebigfish

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Unread post22 Feb 2012, 12:21

"The RAAF doesn't want to run two types of fighter jets"

SO what happens to the Rhinos we (Oz) just recieved? Do they get retired? I thought they all become Growlers?
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Unread post22 Feb 2012, 12:32

If the plan comes to fruition at some future point when 100 F-35As in RAAF service all the Super/Growlers will be sold off. Perhaps the Growlers will be the last to leave. I guess it all depends on future developments. However the plan is not to have a mix of fast jets but then again who knows the future.
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munny

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Unread post22 Feb 2012, 12:33

From memory only 12 of the 24 have all the equipment built in to enable them to be converted to growlers. The 24 we have are to stay in service for 15 years or so until they are replaced by F-35's. That being said, we really should keep the growlers on with the F-35's for as long as they're viable.

I think moving ahead with the EW upgrade now is a good call. We'll see if it sticks after Ruddy quits totally, forcing a bi-election and the Libs get in.
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Unread post22 Feb 2012, 15:11

The Growlers "if" purchased will stay on in RAAF as a sub-unit, no matter what happens to the other 18 aircraft. If the additional 12 Super Hornets are purchased as outlined above, 6 Sqn will come up to full strength and we may see one of the Hornet squadrons lose it's jets with the remaining aircraft rotated through the Hornet squadrons until they can be replaced.

If that happens and it's likely under this Minister, the RAAF will continue to operate two fast jet types for the forseeable future and Government will just have to pony up the funds for them to do so.

The only effect it will have on JSF is down the track. This will mean RAAF is likely to only ever acquire 3 squadrons of JSF (3 squadrons plus an Operational Coversion unit) and operate about 72 aircraft.

Thus it may not be such a bad idea. Super Hornet will be fine until 2030 or so and we might be able to get a replacement aircraft, whether unmanned or otherwise at that point to supplement JSF, no doubt relieving many of the concerns some have expressed about an "all" JSF force.
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Unread post22 Feb 2012, 19:21

Australian Growler Decision Due This Year Feb 22, 2012 By Robert Wall wall@aviationweek.com LONDON

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/ ... Australian Growler Decision Due This Year

"...“In the course of this year, and I choose my words advisably and carefully and say not at the end of this year, but in the course of this year, we’ll make a range of judgments. We’ll make a range of judgments about whether there’s a risk of a capability gap and what steps we need to take in that respect,” Smith says, with buying more Super Hornets an obvious fallback.

At this point, Smith will not rule out F-35s reaching an initial operational capability in Australia before 2020, although that judgment is likely to be made within the coming months."

Amazing choice of words to say nothing - must have been a former FornMin. :D
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Unread post24 Feb 2012, 02:13

thebigfish wrote:"The RAAF doesn't want to run two types of fighter jets"

SO what happens to the Rhinos we (Oz) just recieved? Do they get retired? I thought they all become Growlers?


Since the wiring is done, which is the hard and expensive part, it would be relatively easy to do the conversion. 90 percent of the jets are identical F to G wise. The LAU's can be removed and replaced by the wing tip pods and most of the rest of the electronics go in the gun bay. Im not really sure what it would take to put the antennas on the engine doors but that should be strait forward and those are about the only differance i think. I would have to look at the two jets tomarrow at work to be sure. Most of the cost should be wrapped up in purchasing the electronics and spares not the work doing the conversion.
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popcorn

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Unread post24 Feb 2012, 03:05

Seeing as the Growler will host the NGJ down the road, it appears that the SH will remain relevant to the RAAF for many years to come in the EW role.
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Unread post24 Feb 2012, 06:47

popcorn wrote:Seeing as the Growler will host the NGJ down the road, it appears that the SH will remain relevant to the RAAF for many years to come in the EW role.


I don't believe the Australian Growlers are allowed access to the top end current ECM gear (export restrictions).
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Unread post24 Feb 2012, 07:12

I can only surmise that the Australian Government was provided some assurance that they would have access to the ALQ-99 when they specified that a dozen of the SHs they ordered incorporate the necessary wiring for a Growler conversion. The RAAF was also aware at the time that the ALQ-99 was getting long in the tooth and the long term solution would be it's replacement, the NGJ. All speculation on my part but the Aussies have been entrusted with sensitive tech in the past e.g. AEGIS, Virginia sensor tech, .. so why not the latest EW for optimum interoperability with their primary ally?
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Unread post24 Feb 2012, 08:44

Yeah why not eh....

US ratifies agreements for exporting arms to Britain and Australia | Jorge Benitez | October 01, 2010

http://www.acus.org/natosource/us-ratif ... -australia

“From Hillary Clinton, U.S. Department of State: We welcome the Senate’s approval of the U.S.-UK and the U.S.-Australia Defense Trade Cooperation Treaties and the passage of implementing legislation by the House and Senate. These treaties recognize and support the long-standing special relationship between the United States and two of its closest allies and support U.S. national security interests by furthering cooperative efforts to meet shared security challenges.

The treaties accomplish this by creating a system that allows for a more streamlined and efficient movement of defense articles and services, thereby enhancing our ability to equip our armed forces with the best technology available in the most expeditious manner possible....."
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Unread post24 Feb 2012, 08:58

destroid wrote:
popcorn wrote:Seeing as the Growler will host the NGJ down the road, it appears that the SH will remain relevant to the RAAF for many years to come in the EW role.


I don't believe the Australian Growlers are allowed access to the top end current ECM gear (export restrictions).


Those growlers are now protecting US troops in Australia, so not out of the question.
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Unread post24 Feb 2012, 13:32

destroid wrote:
popcorn wrote:Seeing as the Growler will host the NGJ down the road, it appears that the SH will remain relevant to the RAAF for many years to come in the EW role.


I don't believe the Australian Growlers are allowed access to the top end current ECM gear (export restrictions).


Australia was cleared through the USN's TTSARB and the US State Dept nearly 2 years ago.

There are no effective export controls (apart from the standard end user licences) restricting us acquiring the full capability.
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Unread post24 Feb 2012, 14:25

Thanks for clearing that up, it's pretty hard to get information on this and I had read some articles stating that Boeing was marketing a reduced capability version, but I guess those must have been older.
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Unread post27 Jan 2013, 20:24

AAaaahhh..... The OzSillySeasonNewsExtravaganza continues....

Defence set to buy Super Hornets over cutting-edge fighter 28 Jan 2013

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/nationa ... 2df02.html

"AUSTRALIA will almost certainly be forced to buy 24 new Super Hornet fighter planes at a cost of about $2 billion to plug a looming gap in its air defences amid delays in the purchase of the cutting-edge Joint Strike Fighter.

According to a leaked draft of the 2013 defence white paper, just two Lockheed Martin JSFs will be delivered to Australia by 2020.

This strongly indicates that the government will need to buy rival Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets, which are cheaper but older and less stealthy than the JSF.

''By the end of this decade, the ADF will take delivery of three Air Warfare Destroyers, two Landing Helicopter Dock amphibious ships and the initial two F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft,'' the white paper states.

Advertisement While switching to the Super Hornets would not be a blow to the budget - each plane costs about $40 million less than each JSF - it may mean money is wasted because the government would lose economies of scale on training and maintenance by operating two different types of fighters. And experts say the Super Hornet would be challenged by the growing air combat capabilities of some of Australia's neighbours.

The white paper draft states that the government ''remains committed'' to acquiring the JSF but makes no mention of the next batch of 12 planes, expected about 2020. This appears to confirm what the Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, has hinted at and many experts have suspected: that Defence will replace some of the retiring Hornet aircraft with Super Hornets and end up with a mixed fighter fleet rather than the 100 Super Hornets originally proposed....

...But Peter Goon, a former RAAF engineer now with the independent think tank Air Power Australia, said Australia was "already outmatched in the region" on air combat. "If you send out Super Hornets against the Sukhoi Su-35s, few if any of them will come back," he said. [So sending out the 'NOT superdog' is better right?]

Mr Smith said last week the leaked draft was out of date. The final paper will be released by June."

More tooing and froing at the URL. But hey - don't laugh. :D
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