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Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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spazsinbad

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Unread post10 Aug 2015, 03:40

Ah the joys of having eventually 20 Skyhawks total (16 A4Gs and four TA4Gs) and then to end of with 10 with 10 lost via various ways and means. The TEN (8 A4Gs and 2 TA4Gs) were sold to the RNZAF which upgraded them from c.1989-90 to the KAHU standard (a mini version of the F-16 of the day I'm told - with air to air radar). Most of these aircraft survived their RNZAF service and are now flying with DRAKEN. Most of the surviving A4Gs were original manufacture (not ex-USN A-4Fs modified to A4G standard (downgraded).

Some RAN FAA A4G History with the OneDrive and GoogleDrive SpazSinbad sites having the most up to date 'history': [see the links at the bottom of my posts]

viewtopic.php?f=46&t=25618

The ex-Kuwait Skyhawks were sold to Brazil and they are now upgrading them. Go here for more info:

viewtopic.php?f=46&t=27365

As for exchanges we had none other than what have been described briefly on previous page. We had no Kiwi RNZAF exchanges at all; which always surprised me. At the beginning they had USN exchange (for obvious reasons) then they had only USAF and the odd RAF exchange. Their training squadron (made possible when the A4Gs sold to New Zealand) came over to operate from NAS Nowra for a decade from 1991 to 2000 - strange days indeed. They provided 'Fleet Support' (being targets or attacking our ships) when otherwise not training new pilots - under two five year contracts. And then their Fast Jets were canned and yet to be revived.
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 post10 Aug 2015, 06:30

MD wrote:
XanderCrews wrote:Disagree all you want, they are practically last resort for all the trouble they cause. They have to be treated like Landmines, there are still areas where they were dropped decades ago that are off limits. Not surprisingly area weapons have fallen out of favor for precision. There are also treaty implications.


CBU is a great weapon... they are indeed still a minefield for any force that has to move through an area they were dropped in. Excellent weapon for something like CSAR support for taking out troops and AAA, where there's a singular objective..


Fair points. Especially the latest wind corrected versions. If anything, it could be argued of a legitimate requirement for redeveloping the ER type, even for USMC employment.
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Unread post13 Aug 2015, 04:37

VIDEO is for 'MD' - it shows near the end the Beecroft Range with an A4G ripple rocket firing on a non-practice bomb target there (although we see apparently a 'shack' blown up that is probably staged for the fillum). :mrgreen:

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 post13 Aug 2015, 06:25

spazsinbad wrote:VIDEO is for 'MD' - it shows near the end the Beecroft Range with an A4G ripple rocket firing on a non-practice bomb target there (although we see apparently a 'shack' blown up that is probably staged for the fillum). :mrgreen:


That's pretty cool that such a small jet can carry nearly it's own weight in ordnance. Combined with the fact that it was (I believe) the only carrier jet that didn't require wing folding due to its small size. Some of the older head USMC guys who would do our simulator training for us in my current job with USBP, were A-4 pilots, and for them it was a CAS machine. Quick and nimble, able to easily operate off of expeditionary airfields with PSP runways, they carried nearly twice as much as their sister VMA squadrons which were flying AV-8A/C model Harriers, as the B-model Harrier was coming online to replace both airframes.

Referring to what the video talks about with regards to maneuverability, I remember the Mongoose versions of the A-4 that VF-126 used to have at Miramar, and apparently those stripped down birds had some serious power and maneuverability.

Speaking of the Aussies, I think it's interesting the little known fact that they flew F-4 Phantoms for a short time.
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Unread post13 Aug 2015, 07:44

Yes the prolonged development/buy of RAAF F-111s necessitated lease of some USAF Phantoms for a couple of years. Some range / adversary A-4 stuff here: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=25618

Why I keep stressing the 'fleet defence' for the RAN FAA is due to the general view that the A-4 'was only a mud mover'. Anyhoo it could do that and needed to carry a lot of weight to make up for the lack of accuracy (compared to today).
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 post13 Aug 2015, 08:38

spazsinbad wrote:Yes the prolonged development/buy of RAAF F-111s necessitated lease of some USAF Phantoms for a couple of years. Some range / adversary A-4 stuff here: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=25618

Why I keep stressing the 'fleet defence' for the RAN FAA is due to the general view that the A-4 'was only a mud mover'. Anyhoo it could do that and needed to carry a lot of weight to make up for the lack of accuracy (compared to today).


Spaz is the dream of a pheonix like rebirth of the Aussie carrier, dead? What happened to that white papre that surfaced last year? What happened to the dream of F-35B equipped LHds?
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Unread post13 Aug 2015, 08:47

Read backwards from here: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=12631&p=297929#p297929

The White Paper 2015 is due any day now which should explain with some detail why no F-35Bs on LHDs will be countenanced. However the idea will not die because it all depends on what happens up north and how the RAAF demonstrate FLEET DEFENCE when required (during exercises). The whole topic has been done to death on the thread above so I'll stop now.
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 post13 Aug 2015, 14:38

Meant to post a link to the RAAF PHANTOM story earlier - here it is now:
THE RAAF PHANTOM STORY
16 Mar 2015 MarkThePhantom

"PHANTOM'S DOWN UNDER
In October 1963 the Australian government announced the purchase of the then untested General Dynamics F-111. The aircraft ordered were due for delivery in 1968 to replace the RAAF's fleet of Government Aircraft Factory built English Electric Canberra bombers. However by 1969 continuing problems with the F-111 programme and a possible delivery date of 1974, if at all, meant an interim type was required as the Canberra's were running out of airframe hours. Air Vice Marshal C F Read led a team to the United States to examine proposals for a interim strike aircraft in May 1970. To the delight of many senior RAAF officers and aircrew, Read recommended the Mc Donnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II ahead of the Grumman A-6 Intruder and the British Blackburn Buccaneer.

In June 1970 the Australian government announced the unusual step of leasing twenty four Mc Donnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II's at a cost of US$34 Million over a two year period inclusive of spares and training. A little known feature of the agreement was that under U.S law, leased equipment could be demanded on the basis of...."extraordinary contractual actions to facilitate the national defense"....the U.S could demand the return of the Phantom's at any time! The agreement also contained an option for Australia to buy the F-4's at US$12 Million each, should the F-111 program be cancelled...."

Source: http://www.angelfire.com/extreme/raafph ... AAFF4E.htm
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 post13 Aug 2015, 17:07

spazsinbad wrote:Read backwards from here: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=12631&p=297929#p297929

The White Paper 2015 is due any day now which should explain with some detail why no F-35Bs on LHDs will be countenanced. However the idea will not die because it all depends on what happens up north and how the RAAF demonstrate FLEET DEFENCE when required (during exercises). The whole topic has been done to death on the thread above so I'll stop now.


Would it be somewhat safe to say any major issues in the pacific would have US involvement at least naval wise? I could see the Aussie fleet being thrown into USN groups or USN aircraft helping to perform RAN fleet defense if it was needed. I think the F-35B on the LHDs is still a brilliant idea. I bet even the Japanese throw it out there in the next 5-10 years for the Hyūga & Izumo if China's air craft carrier building picks up at any substantial rate or if the new islands become a larger issue. It gives you a huge leg up offensive capability wise in the Pacific and as the old saying goes the best defense is a good offense.
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Unread post13 Aug 2015, 19:02

spazsinbad wrote:Yes the prolonged development/buy of RAAF F-111s necessitated lease of some USAF Phantoms for a couple of years. Some range / adversary A-4 stuff here: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=25618

Why I keep stressing the 'fleet defence' for the RAN FAA is due to the general view that the A-4 'was only a mud mover'. Anyhoo it could do that and needed to carry a lot of weight to make up for the lack of accuracy (compared to today).


If I'm not mistaken, the USN did the same with their smaller ASW carriers such as Intrepid, Bennington, Hornet, etc. Having embarked A-4 Skyhawks as both light attack as well as air defense. Pretty cool stuff.
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Unread post13 Aug 2015, 23:18

:mrgreen: 'MD' nope you're mistaken is not. :mrgreen: When Indonesian 'konfrontasi' was on the boil our RAN decided to NOT convert HMAS Melbourne from a Gannet/Sea Venom/Wessex ASW carrier to an all Wessex ASW Helo carrier due by early-mid 1960s but to all of a sudden do a Uturn back to emulate the USN ASW carrier model as you have outlined current in the early to mid-late 1960s (but changed when the USN carriers converted to Attack Carriers due to Vietnam War). A great read about the USN model 'fleet defence for USN ASW carriers' is here:

The VSF Story Part one of 2 [VSF = (Fixed Wing) Anti-Submarine Warfare Fighter Squadron One] ASWFitRon
http://www.ebdir.net/vsf1/boom_powell_part_1.html
&
http://www.ebdir.net/vsf1/boom_powell_part_2.html
“...Once in WestPac, although Intrepid picked up a VFP-63 Photo-Crusader detachment and YF-111 provided three F-8Cs and pilots to fly photo escort, VSF-3 was considered the resident fighter squadron. The squadron color was red, Ready Room 1# (nearest the flight deck) was assigned – to be shared with the 'Sader pilots – and flight deck alerts during ship transits were stood by an A-4B with a centerline fuel tank and a pair of AIM-9 Sidewinders.... [A4Gs were specially modified to carry AIM-9s X 4 (one on each wing station) and a centreline tank if required] http://www.ebdir.net/vsf1/boom_powell_part_2.html


http://a4skyhawk.org/3e/vsf3/vsf3.htm & http://a4skyhawk.org/3e/vsf76/vsf76.htm & http://a4skyhawk.org/3e/vsf86/vsf86.htm & http://a4skyhawk.org/2e/navy.htm

http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backiss ... /jun70.pdf

http://thanlont.blogspot.com.au/2014/04 ... fense.html
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 post14 Aug 2015, 00:16

A 40 Mb PDF of 44 pages describes some aspects of the 'poor man Fleet Defence' of ASW specialised aircraft carriers in the last century. Microsoft OneDrive has undergone many changes over the recent years and now with Win10 it seems to have become unfathomable - to me anyway. It used to be easy to know which files were downloadable for viewing on your computer (please do not left click on a file to allow the Microsoft PDF Viewer to see them online because it usually will end in tears before teatime). Anyway please let me know if this recently uploaded PDF is not accessible. Nowadays any potential viewer/downloader has to register (for free easily) with Microsoft - otherwise all the material is free etc.

Fleet Defence ASW Carriers USN-RAN A-4 Skyhawk 1960s-1970s pp44.pdf (40Mb)

https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=cbcd63d6 ... =822839791 [scroll down the SpazSinbad page to see this PDF]
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 post14 Aug 2015, 15:35

Davis: F-35B External Weapons Give Marines 4th, 5th Generation Capabilities in One Plane

The Marine Corps’ Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will have the stealth of a fifth-generation fighter and a weapons payload surpassing a fourth-generation fighter by the time a software upgrade is ready for fielding in 2017, the Marines’ top aviator said this week.

The aircraft’s ability to alternate between accessing contested areas and deliverying heavy fire power based on the needs of any given sortie “I think for our adversaries will be quite worrisome, for us should be a source of great comfort,” Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps for Aviation Lt. Gen. Jon Davis said Wednesday at an event cohosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the U.S. Naval Institute.

“No other airplane can go from fifth to fourth and back to fifth again. I’m buying pylons for the airplane. I get the pylons in 3F software, which comes in 2017. [With the pylons] I can load up an F-35B with about 3,000 pounds more ordnance than I can put on an F-18 right now,” Davis said.
“So I can have an airplane that does fifth-generation stuff for the opening salvo of the fight. When I have to go to level of effort, I can load the pylons on, load ordnance on there, do level of effort, come back, sail to another part of the world, take the pylons off and go do the fifth-generation thing again. … It offers us tremendous capability for the Marine Corps that’s going to have one type/model/series aircraft that can go fourth and fifth gen, give us that fighter capability, give us that attack capability that we need in the out years.”

F-35 Lightning II Program Office spokesman Joe DellaVedova told USNI News that the F-35 was designed to be relevant both on Day 1 of a fight and Day 365 of a fight. To that end, the services needed to leverage the stealth capability that the Air Force already had in its Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighter and Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit bomber, as well as the fire power Marines needed to support their Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF).

The low-observable design of the F-35B, when left unaltered, would allow the Marines to sneak into anti-access/area-denial airspace, take out the integrated air defense system and other high-value targets with its 4,000 pounds of ordnance in the internal weapons bay, and leave. Once the pylons are ready in 2017 to be affixed to the exterior of the plane, “after you dismantle the enemy’s air defense system…then that F-35 can be loaded up like a traditional legacy fighter and become an 18,000 bomb truck, when you don’t have to rely on the low-observability any more,” DellaVedova said. The pylons optimize the F-35B for close-air support, anti-air missions and more.

DellaVedova said testing for the pylons and development of the rest of the 3F software upgrade package is ongoing. The Marines’ current 2B software allows them to carry two air-to-ground weapons and one air-to-air weapon internally: the 1,000-pound GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), the 500-pound GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bomb and the AIM-120C Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).

The 3F software upgrade will bring the external weapons pylons, 4.1 or 4.2 will bring the all-weather Small Diameter Bomb, and in the future the Marine Corps will look to adapt foreign weapons used by partners in the international JSF project, Davis told USNI News last month.

Davis made clear at Wednesday’s event that the F-35B with its current 2B software configuration can handle challenging threat environments today.

“Bottom line, [Marine Fighter Attack Squadron] VMFA 121 just did an Operational Readiness Inspection to get them ready to convince us that they were actually indeed ready to go be declared initial operational capable, and they did a fantastic job in the interdiction mission we had them do, and the defensive counter air, the offensive counter air, the close air support and the armed reconnaissance,” Davis said
“The armed reconnaissance one was the most interesting one. We gave them a really high-end threat environment to go against, and normally to go do close air support and armed reconnaissance you want to be able to get into a kind of low-threat environment to go out there and look for targets. … We gave them difficult targets to find, and we also gave them a difficult threat that in my world, as [former executive officer and commanding officer of Marine Aviation Weapons & Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1)], would be a prohibitive threat. They went out there, they found those targets, they dealt with that, and they came back.”

Now that VMFA 121 passed the ORI and Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford declared initial operational capability for the platform, the Marines will begin the slow process of standing down squadrons of F/A-18 Hornets, EA-6B Prowlers and AV-8B Harriers, and standing up squadrons of JSFs. All active-duty squadrons will be stood up by 2031, with the Marines buying 353 F-35Bs and 67 F-35Cs.

The Marines “intend to extract maximum value and service life out of our Harriers, Hornets and Prowlers,” Davis said in a statement, but the four remaining Prowler squadrons will be short-lived, with the Marine Corps retiring one a year beginning next year. Though a final decision on Harriers and Hornets won’t be made until 2019, the service expects that the Harrier squadrons will transition by 2026 and the Hornets by 2030.

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Unread post14 Aug 2015, 15:42

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 post15 Aug 2015, 01:19

That is some way cool history there Spaz regarding the VSF squadrons. You sir, have given me all kinds of nice reading and research to cover all night of my graveyard shift tonight, since I'm a standby flyer. Thank you! :D
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