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

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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spazsinbad

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Unread post18 Feb 2013, 15:31

Yes/No?! false choice - the Super Hornet has a future as a Super Dog Squared (the Growler version).
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Unread post18 Feb 2013, 15:35

Yes. As a Growler, it definitely has a future.
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Unread post18 Feb 2013, 15:44

count_to_10 wrote:So, the choice of SH over SE was jamming?


No. It was a combination of capability, price, availability and ease of introduction into service.

Capability - SH has most of the capability of the Strike Eagle and several new capabilities for RAAF they haven't experienced before but will need to ahead of F-35 that F-15 didn't offer in-service at the time we considered them. These being primarily fighter LO technology, AESA radar, towed radar decoys and much more advanced weapon systems, sensors and avionics then were in the inventory of RAAF at the time.

Price - SH was about $30m per plane cheaper than the Strike Eagle ($720m in savings up front) and vastly cheaper over the long term to sustain.

Availability - SH was available to us at an IOC level in less than 3 years, due to USN giving up production slots already planned for themselves and the overall maturity of the platform. We went from placing an order in May 2007 to IOC in December 2009. No other aircraft in the whole world could have provided this.

Ease of introduction into service - RAAF pilots, ACO's and maintainers were able to transition onto the Super Hornet easier than in any other aircraft in the world and focus on delivery capability from the aircraft, not just training on it. That's how we managed to get to IOC (a deployable and sustainable squadron sized formation) from contract placement to IOC in only 2 years and 6 months.

USN gave us and continues to provide great support to RAAF that would have been unavailable on any other aircraft due to configuration issues. If we'd bought Strike Eagle, they'd have been of a similar configuration to Singapore's and of significant difference to those operated by the USAF. Building up a capability would have required greater investment in time and resources by us, not having the same degree of "reach-back".

These advantages should not be sneezed at when considering that the Super Hornet was and is RAAF's interim combat aircraft. They aren't as sexy as issues like acceleration, turn rates and so on, but they make REAL differences to aircraft combat capability, not just the paper stats...
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Unread post18 Feb 2013, 15:51

gtx wrote:Yes. As a Growler, it definitely has a future.


I think Super Hornet has a future in RAAF even in it's vanilla variety. Many have said that not all combat capability has to be the very highest end and I, and many others agree.

The F model Super Hornets will retain significant combat capability for decades, in roles beyond EW including anti-ship strike, standoff weapons strike, close air support in slightly more benign air environments, the wartime FAC role (as a twin seater, having an ACO on board will always be a benefit) and even in OCA / DCA roles.

RAAF only ever sought a single type combat fleet because of Government direction and future budget issues. Thinking that the full range of tasks is best served by a single type, I don't think was the overwhelming priority.

An expanded RAAF fleet of say 36-48x Super Hornets / Growlers and 72x F-35A's would serve us extremely well in any likely scenario we'll ever face.
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Unread post18 Feb 2013, 15:53

Conan wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:So, the choice of SH over SE was jamming?


No. It was a combination of capability, price, availability and ease of introduction into service.

Capability - SH has most of the capability of the Strike Eagle and several new capabilities for RAAF they haven't experienced before but will need to ahead of F-35 that F-15 didn't offer in-service at the time we considered them. These being primarily fighter LO technology, AESA radar, towed radar decoys and much more advanced weapon systems, sensors and avionics then were in the inventory of RAAF at the time.

Price - SH was about $30m per plane cheaper than the Strike Eagle ($720m in savings up front) and vastly cheaper over the long term to sustain.

Availability - SH was available to us at an IOC level in less than 3 years, due to USN giving up production slots already planned for themselves and the overall maturity of the platform. We went from placing an order in May 2007 to IOC in December 2009. No other aircraft in the whole world could have provided this.

Ease of introduction into service - RAAF pilots, ACO's and maintainers were able to transition onto the Super Hornet easier than in any other aircraft in the world and focus on delivery capability from the aircraft, not just training on it. That's how we managed to get to IOC (a deployable and sustainable squadron sized formation) from contract placement to IOC in only 2 years and 6 months.

USN gave us and continues to provide great support to RAAF that would have been unavailable on any other aircraft due to configuration issues. If we'd bought Strike Eagle, they'd have been of a similar configuration to Singapore's and of significant difference to those operated by the USAF. Building up a capability would have required greater investment in time and resources by us, not having the same degree of "reach-back".

These advantages should not be sneezed at when considering that the Super Hornet was and is RAAF's interim combat aircraft. They aren't as sexy as issues like acceleration, turn rates and so on, but they make REAL differences to aircraft combat capability, not just the paper stats...

That makes a lot of sense.
I was wondering more about the range issue that APA made such a big deal about.
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Unread post18 Feb 2013, 16:11

geogen wrote:
Ironic how what was a sure bet is now one of the most speculative and risky gambles in Tacair recapitalization history with possibly significant and potentially catastrophic consequences to maintaining force structure capability and deterrence in a highly uncertain post-Cold-War era, in staying on track as is.


I only wish that saying all these things made them true.
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Unread post18 Feb 2013, 16:25

count_to_10 wrote:That makes a lot of sense.
I was wondering more about the range issue that APA made such a big deal about.


Cheers, APA's issues with range was just them doing what they are best at. Cherry-picking facts to suit their agenda.

It should have been obvious even to a lay person, how F-111's were headed from the mid-80's onwards. It's major user employed F-111 operationally with substantial refuelling and EW assets, standoff weapons support and fighter escorts.

It's minor user could only provide fighter escorts, with limited refuelling in some instances for the fighters. No EW support, no standoff weapons support and no refuelling for the strikers. That was the strategic reality of our "strategic striker".

We effectively had long range strikers with short ranged weapons, no refuelling, no EW and no standoff weapons (until the very last years of the capability). These long ranged strikers however in operational configuration were limited to whatever range could be managed by it's fighter escort with limited refuelling.

Now we have shorter ranged strike fighters, but ones with with very long ranged weapons, decent refuelling and decent EW support. Plus we get a much improved air combat capability, more tactical reconaissance capability, a much better wartime FAC capability and plenty of twin seaters, able to give the all important politicians a backseat ride of their life (thus keeping RAAF in the politicians good books to a degree).

A pretty good tradeoff if you ask me...
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Unread post18 Feb 2013, 16:31

Conan wrote: able to give the all important politicians a backseat ride of their life (thus keeping RAAF in the politicians good books to a degree).



When the F-22 was "going to decision" That was one of the things I told my brother at the time "You know whats going to kill the F-22 is its one man ride, they forgot the seat for the guy who votes on funding"

:lol:

(just a joke)
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Unread post18 Feb 2013, 22:43

XanderCrews wrote:
Conan wrote: able to give the all important politicians a backseat ride of their life (thus keeping RAAF in the politicians good books to a degree).



When the F-22 was "going to decision" That was one of the things I told my brother at the time "You know whats going to kill the F-22 is its one man ride, they forgot the seat for the guy who votes on funding"

:lol:

(just a joke)


I don't think its a joke. I mean NASA had Mission Specialist Congressman/Senators, and there have been a few pilots who flew for the USN/USAF/ANG while in Congress.

Giving rides to help sell a program. Tell AVM Criss that I'm sure Boeing will happily give him a ride in a EA-18 or Block III demonstrator.

I don't think any of the Congressman/Senators have flown an F-22 though.
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Unread post18 Feb 2013, 23:04

Maybe said pollies (politicians/movers/shakers) will get a ride in the 'tunnel of love' F-35 FMS somewhere? They'll be used to all the blackness at the beginning to enter into the light! :D

Scroll to end of page: http://www.f-16.net/f-16_forum_viewtopic-t-20642.html
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Unread post19 Feb 2013, 00:47

So, if they are giving reporters joy rides in the F-35 sims, I have a sneaky suspicion that every congressman on the armed forces committee has taken a turn.
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Unread post19 Feb 2013, 17:35

The 'Reach for the Sky' Four Corners transcript:

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/ ... transcript
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Unread post21 Feb 2013, 22:20

Oz Minister for Defence – Interview with Karina Carvalho, ABC News Breakfast 21 February 2013

http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/2013 ... eakfast-2/

"TRANSCRIPT: INTERVIEW WITH KARINA CARVALHO, ABC NEWS BREAKFAST

TRANSCRIPTION: PROOF COPY E & OE

DATE: 21 FEBRUARY 2013

TOPICS: Afghanistan; whaling; Joint Strike Fighter; Defence Budget; Federal Election

...KARINA CARVALHO: I want to ask you about the F-35 Strike Joint Fighter program. That purchase has been the subject of much criticism. Now the man heading the US F-35 program, he’s told Four Corners it’s been put into production before proper testing has been done. Is the Government still confident with the purchases it’s made?

STEPHEN SMITH: We have committed ourselves contractually to two Joint Strike Fighters. We’ll receive those in 2014 in the United States for training purposes. We’ve announced that we will take another 12, effectively our first squadron, but we have not made a judgment as to when we will place the orders for those. I’ve made it clear since the time I’ve become Defence Minister that we won’t allow delays in the Joint Strike Fighter project to leave us with a gap in capability and at the end of last year, we placed a letter of request with the United States authorities to enable us to investigate the potential purchase of up to 24 more Super Hornets.

We’ve now got a fleet of 24 Super Hornets, 12 of those can be wired up for the electronic warfare capability Growler, and we’ve got about 70 Classic Hornets. But the delays in the Joint Strike Fighter project do raise a risk of gap in capability and I’ve made it clear we won’t allow that to occur. We’ve always been confident that in the end the plane and the project would get up but it has been subject to very serious scheduling delays and that’s what’s causing us to risk a gap in capability.

KARINA CARVALHO: Because the former Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon, he says that Defence officials were running interference to protect the program. Have you ever felt pressured by Defence officials to continue with this program?

STEPHEN SMITH: The only pressure I feel is the pressure to make sure that we make judgements which are in our national and national security interests, and it’s not in our national security interests to allow a gap in our air combat capability to occur. To his great credit, Brendan Nelson made sure that we purchased 24 Super Hornets. Joel Fitzgibbon, as one of my predecessors, made sure that that purchase was fully effected.

I’ve made sure that we’ve been able to acquire the electronic warfare capability Growler, which is linked to Super Hornets, and I’ll also made sure that we don’t leave any risk that delays in the Joint Strike Fighter project will see a gap in our capability and that conjures up, which we’re investigating, the potential for purchase of more Super Hornets.

Now, I’ve also made it clear at the end of last year that we’re now looking not just to the Super Hornets being a gap in capability, but whether into the longer term it makes sense for Australia to have a mixed fleet, a mixed fleet of Super Hornets, Growler and Joint Strike Fighters, which is what you essentially see the United States Navy and Air Force now embarking upon.

KARINA CARVALHO
: Given the precarious position the Government finds itself in ahead of the budget, you expect Defence to be hit further by spending cuts?

STEPHEN SMITH: Defence made a substantial contribution to the 2012 Budget, as part of our fiscal responsibilities. Defence has not been called upon since that time. I never speculate about budgets, so those interested in the budget and the Defence budget should turn up on budget night.

I’ve also made the point that the leader of the Opposition, Mr Abbott, at his first outing at the Press Club this year, essentially committed himself to no further reductions which means the Opposition has the same four-year forward estimates fiscal position as the Government. So there’s an outbreak of bipartisanship on Defence spending, but when it comes to the next budget I’m not proposing to speculate. People should just turn up and examine the budget on budget night...."

That is it.
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Unread post21 Feb 2013, 22:47

$2bn Triton drone plan to track asylum boats off Australia 22 Feb 2013 IAN McPHEDRAN

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/n ... 6583044954

"...The government is also expected to soon announce that it will spend at least $4 billion on another 24 Boeing Super Hornet jet fighters from the US Navy [?] to prevent any air power capability gaps.”
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Unread post21 Feb 2013, 23:14

That's 166mil each.... which is more than a WSC FY2014 F-35A. Why do they keep dragging their feet on pulling the trigger on the F-35?

Just commit already :(

Geesh.
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