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

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spazsinbad

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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.

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Mr Smith said last week the leaked draft was out of date.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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KamenRiderBlade

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Unread post27 Jan 2013, 20:32

My question is who is Australia's major threat in defending it's territory.

Outside of China which has 1 operational carrier & 2 operational planes on board which I don't consider a threat for quite a while until they get a fully loaded carrier.
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Unread post27 Jan 2013, 21:26

Have a look at a map. New Zealand? :D Nope. Tasmania (anything with 'mania' in it has got to be weird - right?).
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Unread post27 Jan 2013, 21:44

.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.


There are Su-35s in the region? I am thinking you would have to take a pretty expansive view of what constitutes the region...
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Unread post27 Jan 2013, 21:58

Peter Goon is omniscient - everyone knows that - that is why he is quoted in Oz media - Goon is the equivalent of Wheeler in US. :D
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Unread post27 Jan 2013, 22:54

spazsinbad wrote:...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

I'll resist being too much of a smart a** :D

I seriously doubt that the AESA LPI-Mode range of a Su-35 detecting a EA-18G exceeds the passive detection range of that same EA-18G fitted with ALQ-218s

There is also the possibility of a "Growler-Lite" version of a F/A-18F being fielded in the RAAF with a full complement of AIM-120Ds. The F/A-18F could easily detect a Su-35 at 20-30 miles, which would be the likely limit for a Russian/Chinese medium-range IR AAM. Beyond that, a Radar-Guided AAM would be detected by the standard RWR, but most likely the ALQ-218s.
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Unread post28 Jan 2013, 02:20

Wouldn't China have to get through Indonesia to send Su-35s against Australia?
Or, are people worried that Indonesia will send Su-35s themselves?
Einstein got it backward: one cannot prevent a war without preparing for it.

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Unread post28 Jan 2013, 02:33

Currently Australia gets along well with both Indonesia and China. However - as mentioned earlier - New Zealand and Tasmania (and PNG if they get cranky) are a worry.
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Unread post28 Jan 2013, 04:42

to Kamenrider- an Air Force such as RAAF does not necessarily identify and name one particular 'threat' to air sovereignty as a consideration for when recapping the Tactical force structure. I think it's a flaw then, whenever I hear this argument to simply debate; 'who is the regional threat to air sovereignty', when debating how to most prudently recap a retiring Tactical force structure for the next-gen and 25-year outlook, etc.

That said, I'd probably agree with you if you are also implying that the original expectation and plan for 100 RAAF F-35s will simply not be sustainable, prudent or realistic.

Put me in the camp assessing that RAAF would have been more strategic and prudent in better calculating the future of Australia's Hornet/F-111 recap plan back during the early/mid-2000s, by deciding on an F-15AU (eg, F-15SG-similar) w/incremental upgrade path strategy. Perhaps 60-72(?) airframes on an upgrade path could have sufficed combined with a small fleet of say, Super Tucano, plus future mix of unmanned platforms for long-endurance mutli-mission patrols/sorties. A 'next-gen' replacement plan to this F-15AU-path could have further been estimated to commence then, around 2035, completed by 2040?

Likely more reliable, more affordable... yes, more capable... and more doable. Could have called it a day.

With respect to the context of future, 'EW/EA-enhanced Supers'.. I'm curious if a future stopgap batch of Supers could further include a force-flexible-multiplying F-18E/F variants equipped with next-gen Type IV computer, at least plumbed for the proposed CFT (kick start the international path in exchange for additional offsets) and at least some of these new-batch jets integrating a next-gen, all-in-one 'Escort/Support/EA jammer' on the centerline? Maybe not quite as capable as a future NGJ-equipped Growler, but still enabling flexible and sufficient EW capabilities in a support role (eg, to F-35s and when operating autonomously from F-35s?)
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Unread post28 Jan 2013, 07:26

geogen wrote:That said, I'd probably agree with you if you are also implying that the original expectation and plan for 100 RAAF F-35s will simply not be sustainable, prudent or realistic.
Put me in the camp assessing that RAAF would have been more strategic and prudent in better calculating the future of Australia's Hornet/F-111 recap plan back during the early/mid-2000s, by deciding on an F-15AU (eg, F-15SG-similar) w/incremental upgrade path strategy. Perhaps 60-72(?) airframes on an upgrade path could have sufficed combined with a small fleet of say, Super Tucano, plus future mix of unmanned platforms for long-endurance mutli-mission patrols/sorties. A 'next-gen' replacement plan to this F-15AU-path could have further been estimated to commence then, around 2035, completed by 2040?

Likely more reliable, more affordable... yes, more capable... and more doable

Could have called it a day..

I don't think the F-15AU would have been a good idea, its not that much of airframe upgrade from the F-111s, and would still need completely separate logistics and training programs. The F/A-18F can take advantage of existing support channels, and parts suppliers. The parts themselves may not be common between series, but the suppliers are mainly the same.
geogen wrote:With respect to the context of future, 'EW/EA-enhanced Supers'.. I'm curious if a future stopgap batch of Supers could further include a force-flexible-multiplying F-18E/F variants equipped with next-gen Type IV computer, at least plumbed for the proposed CFT (kick start the international path in exchange for additional offsets) and at least some of these new-batch jets integrating a next-gen, all-in-one 'Escort/Support/EA jammer' on the centerline? Maybe not quite as capable as a future NGJ-equipped Growler, but still enabling flexible and sufficient EW capabilities in a support role (eg, to F-35s and when operating autonomously from F-35s?)

I would assume that Boeing will do certain things differently, including Type IV computers, and wiring for possible upgrades, such as internal FLIR/EOTS, even if not fitted. Plumbing for CFTs would also be a good idea. There is also an F414 EPE engine upgrade available.

One upgrade Australia may not go for is the wide-screen cockpit display, as this would splinter training between old and new jets. The US Navy haven't requested the wide-screen upgrade for the same reason.
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Unread post28 Jan 2013, 09:16

hobo wrote:
.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.


There are Su-35s in the region? I am thinking you would have to take a pretty expansive view of what constitutes the region...


Of course. Russia is in our region dontcha know?

So Peter (despite the underwear he wears on his head and his predeliction for having two pencils up his nose) Goon is completely correct.

If we ever sent our 24x Super Hornets against the only SU-35's in the entire world we WOULD have few come home...
Last edited by Conan on 28 Jan 2013, 09:54, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post28 Jan 2013, 09:28

Conan says: "...So Peter (despite the underwear he wears on his head and his predeliction two having two pencils up his nose) Goon is completely correct...." Does he also run with sharp scissors? :D
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Unread post28 Jan 2013, 09:51

geogen wrote:to Kamenrider- an Air Force such as RAAF does not necessarily identify and name one particular 'threat' to air sovereignty as a consideration for when recapping the Tactical force structure. I think it's a flaw then, whenever I hear this argument to simply debate; 'who is the regional threat to air sovereignty', when debating how to most prudently recap a retiring Tactical force structure for the next-gen and 25-year outlook, etc.


Australia does not identify any particular threats in our strategic outlook. We base our air combat capability on a long standing requirement to be capable of generating 4x air combat squadrons, plus appropriate supporting elements, including 2 Operational Conversion Unit.

Only those with an agenda identify a particular threat (unfortunately in this case, one that doesn't even exist) and use that "threat" to scare-monger their way into the news.

That said, I'd probably agree with you if you are also implying that the original expectation and plan for 100 RAAF F-35s will simply not be sustainable, prudent or realistic.


For crying out loud, how many times does it have to be explained? Australia has never had a plan to acquire "100" F-35's.

We have a plan to acquire 4x air combat squadrons of 18x aircraft, an operational conversion unit (OCU) with 12x aircraft, plus attrition, maintenance and test and development aircraft (around 6-12 extra). That gets us to about 90-96 aircraft, hence the CONSTANT language from Defence since 2002 when this plan was approved has been "up to 100" aircraft.

The final decision which had to be made, was whether 6 Squadron would also maintain a small OCU, however with a single type in-service 6 Squadron doesn't need to provide that capability. With Super Hornet AND F-35 in-service, 6 Squadron does maintain an extra OCU capability. That's where the "up to 100" figure comes from. Just because L-M or whoever has interpreted that as "100 aircraft" isn't our concern.

So, given we have supported and maintained this force structure within RAAF since 1972 and have budgeted $16b to acquire an F-35 capability how can you say such isn't "sustainable or realistic"?

The only reason we haven't largely implemented this structure already is the delays in the project. The cost increases are within the contingency "wedge" we factor into our military acquisitions (the no win, no loss financing Defence often refers to).

Our financing works like this: if defence projects come under budget the surplus money goes back to Treasury, if it comes in over-budget Treasury covers the difference. Whatever approved budget Defence therefore has, is sufficient to acquire the planned capability. Fortunately unlike many nations, we buy defence capability well within our means and could afford far more if our strategic circumstances dictated.

Put me in the camp assessing that RAAF would have been more strategic and prudent in better calculating the future of Australia's Hornet/F-111 recap plan back during the early/mid-2000s, by deciding on an F-15AU (eg, F-15SG-similar) w/incremental upgrade path strategy. Perhaps 60-72(?) airframes on an upgrade path could have sufficed combined with a small fleet of say, Super Tucano, plus future mix of unmanned platforms for long-endurance mutli-mission patrols/sorties. A 'next-gen' replacement plan to this F-15AU-path could have further been estimated to commence then, around 2035, completed by 2040?

Likely more reliable, more affordable... yes, more capable... and more doable. Could have called it a day.


No it would not have sufficed. We have to fight Russia and China's SU-35's, J-20's and PAK-FA's remember?

On top of which and not even counting that type's limited future against alleged 5th Gen types, just meeting our basic air combat needs means such a force structure is completely inadequate. We need 4 operational strike fighter squadrons just to meet minimum peacetime fighter coverage, to meet our "strategic strike" requirement, to meet our training requirements AND give us the capability to deploy a single fighter squadron on "expeditionary operations," a capability EVERY Australian Government has required of RAAF since 1972.

With respect to the context of future, 'EW/EA-enhanced Supers'.. I'm curious if a future stopgap batch of Supers could further include a force-flexible-multiplying F-18E/F variants equipped with next-gen Type IV computer, at least plumbed for the proposed CFT (kick start the international path in exchange for additional offsets) and at least some of these new-batch jets integrating a next-gen, all-in-one 'Escort/Support/EA jammer' on the centerline? Maybe not quite as capable as a future NGJ-equipped Growler, but still enabling flexible and sufficient EW capabilities in a support role (eg, to F-35s and when operating autonomously from F-35s?)


Our Super Hornets are funded to retain a common configuration with USN Super Hornets. Basically whatever enhancement they get, we will acquire also. Ditto for the Growlers.

We are also funded for NGJ and AARGM...
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Unread post28 Jan 2013, 09:53

spazsinbad wrote:Conan says: "...So Peter (despite the underwear he wears on his head and his predeliction two having two pencils up his nose) Goon is completely correct...." Does he also run with sharp scissors? :D


Safety scissors I believe and corks on his forks...

:wink:
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Unread post28 Jan 2013, 09:56

Conan said: "...We are also funded for NGJ and AARGM..." Cool. It is an unusual Defence funding arrangement in Oz - often forgotten.

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