Australian lawmakers confident in F-35's future

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Conan

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Unread post26 Feb 2020, 14:44

spazsinbad wrote:'Conan' where ya bin?! I would agree with all of that I'm just making a SARCASTIC point that 'money is no object' for upgrading RAAF bases (TIN BALL will not be a bare base I'll guess) yet ALWAYS money is cited as the reason why making the LHDs able to operate F-35Bs is too expensive - even if these aircraft belong to another country - an ally even. However I have given up the idea that Australia (which may or may not include the Navy Army or RAAF) will ever operate the F-35B.

It is a shame that the Navy has reduced itself to operating HUGE ARMY buses in a benign environment - so be it.


I float around, my friend... 8)

I don’t think Tindal has ‘ever’ been a bare base? It’s RAAF’s primary ‘operational’ fighter base, afterall...

Money is no option for F-35 capability, if you want it... A very similar amount of money was spent bringing Williamtown up to speed as well and I assume one day if the mythical ‘4th squadron’ ever gets the go ahead, much the same will be spent at Amberley too.

I guess a billion and a half here, a billion and a half there adds up, even for a Government who apparently have no qualms about spending a large amount on defence, so long as there’s jerbs to go with it... (Cough, $6b a piece new subs...)

I think you’re doing a disservice to your old employer there though. Navy does a but more than just drive the Army around, sure some F-35B’s would make her even more exciting than now, but it just isn’t on anyone’s radar (teehee...) I’m afraid. Only Ex-PM Captain Call himself I’m afraid and no-one much listens to that buffoon these days...
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ricnunes

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Unread post26 Feb 2020, 16:37

optimist wrote:Australia could never defend itself from any of the major powers, without assistance.


I believe that I have to kinda disagree with you on this one. Australia has IMO a very respectable Armed Forces (I wish that Canada was the same or similar, LoL ) and together with its geographic location, I would say that only one major power would have IMO the chance to defeat Australia offensively and unassisted and this major power would be the USA (which is one of the biggest Australian allies).
For example, I don't think that China and much less Russia would have any or much of a chance to invade or to carry any meaningful offensive operation within the Australian territory, except for a Nuclear Strike.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Conan

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Unread post27 Feb 2020, 02:03

ricnunes wrote:
optimist wrote:Australia could never defend itself from any of the major powers, without assistance.


I believe that I have to kinda disagree with you on this one. Australia has IMO a very respectable Armed Forces (I wish that Canada was the same or similar, LoL ) and together with its geographic location, I would say that only one major power would have IMO the chance to defeat Australia offensively and unassisted and this major power would be the USA (which is one of the biggest Australian allies).
For example, I don't think that China and much less Russia would have any or much of a chance to invade or to carry any meaningful offensive operation within the Australian territory, except for a Nuclear Strike.


We are terribly vulnerable to missile strikes, having long neglected our air defence capabilities and having a rather strange political aversion to any form of missile defence for our major cities, bases, strategically important facilities (it might upset our regional ‘neighbours’ who afterall have invested heavily in such weapons capable of striking us, so we wouldn’t want to force them to consider buying more, because we have blunted their capability to use them, what? Really?). We have also demonstrated a rather unusual reluctance to undertake the usual base hardening measures most NATO nations take routinely for example and we have a very unusual vulnerability in our fuel security infrastructure...

Our sea lines of communication are also horribly exposed by the miniscule size of our naval and air capabilities, but these are the main ‘conventional’ threats we face, not so much the threat of conventional invasion.
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Unread post27 Feb 2020, 08:48

Conan wrote:
We are terribly vulnerable to missile strikes, having long neglected our air defence capabilities and having a rather strange political aversion to any form of missile defence for our major cities, bases, strategically important facilities (it might upset our regional ‘neighbours’ who afterall have invested heavily in such weapons capable of striking us, so we wouldn’t want to force them to consider buying more, because we have blunted their capability to use them, what? Really?). We have also demonstrated a rather unusual reluctance to undertake the usual base hardening measures most NATO nations take routinely for example and we have a very unusual vulnerability in our fuel security infrastructure...

Our sea lines of communication are also horribly exposed by the miniscule size of our naval and air capabilities, but these are the main ‘conventional’ threats we face, not so much the threat of conventional invasion.



It's nothing against the ADF or the Australian Government. Yet, fact is more Defense Spending is needed.........
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ricnunes

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Unread post27 Feb 2020, 18:26

Conan wrote:We are terribly vulnerable to missile strikes, having long neglected our air defence capabilities and having a rather strange political aversion to any form of missile defence for our major cities, bases, strategically important facilities (it might upset our regional ‘neighbours’ who afterall have invested heavily in such weapons capable of striking us, so we wouldn’t want to force them to consider buying more, because we have blunted their capability to use them, what? Really?). We have also demonstrated a rather unusual reluctance to undertake the usual base hardening measures most NATO nations take routinely for example and we have a very unusual vulnerability in our fuel security infrastructure...


And from where would such missile strikes come from?

If it comes from ships and long range aircraft then I believe that Australia has a reasonably good Navy and IMO a very good Air Force plus some good early warning systems to counter such threats the best possible way.

Would this make Australia impervious to missile strikes? Of course not but again I don't think that Australia is in any way less well equipped to deal with such threats (specially taking into account Australia's geographical location) compared with any other country in the world, except again for the USA.

I would also say that the lack of "hardening measures" or with "air/missile defence" (I gather you mean SAMs here, no?) is again due to Australia's geographical location. Due to this reason alone (Australia's geographical location), I would say that launching a missile strike against Australia is in itself a very hard task to do!


Conan wrote:Our sea lines of communication are also horribly exposed by the miniscule size of our naval and air capabilities, but these are the main ‘conventional’ threats we face, not so much the threat of conventional invasion.


Well, I wouldn't call a Navy that has or will have 2 LHA's, 2 AAW Destroyers, 9 Frigates (in the future), 12 Submarines (in the future) plus and Air Force with 12 P-8 ASW aircraft, 6 E-7A AEW&C aircraft, around 100 fighter/combat aircraft (in the future), 7 Tanker aircraft (Airbus A330 MRTT), 6 MQ-4C Triton UAVs (in the future), 24 MH-60 Seahawk ASW helicopters to be a minuscule size force.
I guess that if Australia had more surface combatant ships (Destroyers and Frigates) and more ASW helicopters it would IMO be better specially to deal with potential enemy Submarines. But in no way this is minuscule force but of course that enemy submarines would be a "tough nut" for Australia "to crack" but then again such threat is a "tough nut to crack" when it comes to any other country on this planet, including the USA.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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spazsinbad

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Unread post04 Mar 2020, 03:40

Conan wrote:
spazsinbad wrote:'Conan' where ya bin?! I would agree with all of that I'm just making a SARCASTIC point that 'money is no object' for upgrading RAAF bases (TIN BALL will not be a bare base I'll guess) yet ALWAYS money is cited as the reason why making the LHDs able to operate F-35Bs is too expensive - even if these aircraft belong to another country - an ally even. However I have given up the idea that Australia (which may or may not include the Navy Army or RAAF) will ever operate the F-35B.

It is a shame that the Navy has reduced itself to operating HUGE ARMY buses in a benign environment - so be it.


I float around, my friend... 8) I don’t think Tindal has ‘ever’ been a bare base? It’s RAAF’s primary ‘operational’ fighter base, afterall... Money is no option for F-35 capability, if you want it... A very similar amount of money was spent bringing Williamtown up to speed as well and I assume one day if the mythical ‘4th squadron’ ever gets the go ahead, much the same will be spent at Amberley too. I guess a billion and a half here, a billion and a half there adds up, even for a Government who apparently have no qualms about spending a large amount on defence, so long as there’s jerbs to go with it... (Cough, $6b a piece new subs...)

I think you’re doing a disservice to your old employer there though. Navy does a but more than just drive the Army around, sure some F-35B’s would make her even more exciting than now, but it just isn’t on anyone’s radar (teehee...) I’m afraid. Only Ex-PM Captain Call himself I’m afraid and no-one much listens to that buffoon these days...

Been offline with TELSTRA malfunctions for past week - so typical of my local area which even now does not have NBN. I guess NBN here is like 'F-35Bs on LHDs'. It will happen one day but perhaps only in the dreamtime. I still have not seen a 'FLEET DEFENCE PLAN outline' - just happy words. The ARMY needs to wake up and read this for example:
Modify LHDs for F35Bs? [It is a long article]
01 Mar 2020 David Hobbs

"The tactical air element of Australian amphibious ready group, ARG, concept as it is defined in 2020 has much in common with the failed UK ‘tactical air support for maritime operations’, TASMO, concept adopted by the UK Government in the 1970s. This tasked shore-based RAF aircraft, many of them removed from the Fleet Air Arm to justify a political decision to run down the carrier force, to provide the fixed-wing air element of any deployed RN task force. The concept proved to be valueless during the South Atlantic War of 1982 and could never have worked more than 200 nautical miles from the UK coast, if then. If a similar concept could work now, the USA, China, India, Italy and France would have considered it; they have not.

Even if the whole RAAF tanker and fighter forces were to be deployed in support of the ARG deployed more than 200 nautical miles from the Australian coast, the requirement to maintain 2 combat ready F-35As on combat air patrol, CAP, over the fleet 24 hours a day 7 days a week for any extended period in which the force might be in danger could still hardly be met. Such a commitment would require at any one time not only the 2 fighters on task but 2 more airborne to replace them with 2 more on their way home having been replaced. At really long ranges two sets of 2 replacement aircraft, an hour apart would be needed and a contingency force of 2 at alert might be needed to cover contingencies such as the loss of an aircraft in combat, unserviceability or the CAP using up its ammunition early in its time on task. A long-term predictive flying programme would be needed with aircraft flying most of their time airborne in transit, not in the operational area. An element of reactive force would have to be added to the predicted programme but, even then, rapid reaction would not be possible from a remote base a long way from the ARG.

The provision of AEW and MPA on a continuing basis at long range would require 4 aircraft each at any one time, one on task, one on the way out, one on the way back and one being prepared/briefed ready for flight. How many tankers does the RAAF have? How many other missions would they be required to fulfil? Continuous tanker support over the ARG would, of course, be of critical importance since the failure of a single tanker could result in the loss of the aircraft it was intended to support if they ran out of fuel in a predictive programme a long way from any friendly base. Long-range AEW and MPA aircraft might get by without tankers but, depending on the range at which operations would be carried out, the resulting shorter time on task at longer ranges would require more aircraft to provide gapless cover. Does the RAAF have the resources to achieve this? I would say it does not.

A carrier, on the other hand, can fly short sorties with a smaller number of fighters. They could act as an integrated part of the ARG/task force in a way that remote-based F-35s could not. Co-operative engagement capability offers the chance for F-35s to cue surface ship missiles and download both reconnaissance and Sigint information in real time. Enhancing the co-operative engagement capability of air warfare destroyers and the Hunter class future frigates with CAP aircraft that could realistically cover a task force for prolonged periods in battle space that is remote from the Australian mainland would, in my opinion, justify the cost of modifying the Canberra class even before the other benefits the F-35B would bring to the fleet are taken into account. Ship-based fighters would be close to the scene of action and reinforcements could be flown off reactively and quickly to supplement those already airborne, perhaps with differing weapons loads, when required. Remote land-based aircraft could not do this because they would take hours to reach the fleet. Those who claim that the operation of aircraft at very long range from land bases to provide the air element of a deployed naval task force are being disingenuous if they claim that this could be done effectively without committing the entire RAAF fighter and tanker inventory to it. A much smaller number of embarked fighters could do the same task leaving a proportion of the land-based aircraft to fight their own air warfare objectives.

If the whole fighter/tanker force was to be committed to long range task force support for a prolonged period, the aircraft would use up most of their flying hours in transit flights outside the operational area and aircrew fatigue flying long transit flights every day for prolonged periods would quickly become a factor. This would not apply to embarked fighters to anything like the same degree. There may also be occasions when the threat level would reduce to the point where combat air patrols from a carrier within the task force could be reduced to a quick reaction alert level. Long-range aircraft operations from a land base could not be stood down in the same way since their intervention would be too slow to react to meet rapid changes in the threat level in the fleet’s close proximity. Proponents of land-based fighter operations as a component element of a deployed naval task force might advance the idea that they could be deployed forward to temporary bases closer to the area of operations, the ‘island strategy’. Any rational appraisal of such a proposal would soon reveal the limitations of this concept. A carrier arrives in the area of operations ready to go into action with fully functioning command, control and communications; its aircraft are ready to fly and it contains fuel, maintenance facilities and air weapons to sustain the aircraft in combat. Not the least important, they have ‘people support’ facilities that allow aircrew and technicians to eat, sleep, rest and be briefed between sorties and carry out essential aircraft maintenance. The carrier would be at the centre of a sophisticated, three-dimensional defensive system and auxiliaries would form part of the task force with fuel, ammunition and other commodities required to maintain the task force in action. None of these advantages would apply to a temporary air base and the logistic operation required to create it would be enormous and completely beyond the short-notice capability of the RAAF in a major conflict. Who would defend it? The amphibious force embarked in the LHD? Air warfare destroyers? What would be the impact of their re-assignment on their original task? Attempting to set up a mobile base would draw aircraft from every other task and would still only produce a pale shadow of what a task force/ARG with its own embarked fighters could achieve. It would actually be more vulnerable than a carrier in a total war.

As for the RAN LHDs themselves, their Spanish design origins certainly had AV-8B Harrier operations in mind, hence the ski-jump. They are, however, smaller than other flat-tops such as Izumo, Cavour and, especially, the USN Wasp and America classes. All these are being modified to operate the F-35B in varying numbers and the RAN will have studied potential conversion packages and their likely cost to get a feel for the facts rather than hyperbole. The South Korean Navy is considering modifying its second LHD, Marado, into an F-35B carrier. It is larger than its half-sister Dokdo but smaller than Canberra so this is also a project worth studying. Of interest a recent Japanese Ministry of Defence press release stated that US$28 million has been allocated for Izumo‘s initial conversion to operate F-35Bs. This figure is far less than the figure of Aus$500 million suggested by some sources in Australia for Canberra‘s conversion. What is the true figure? Given the value of embarked F-35Bs in terms of reconnaissance, intelligence and as a co-operative engagement node in addition to their more obvious short-range fighter and strike capabilities, arguably a Canberra conversion would enhance RAN capability to the extent that an expensive work package could be justified. With considerable international interest in modifying a variety of amphibious ‘flat tops’ into versatile F-35B carriers, the RAAF seems to be alone in claiming that shore-based aircraft can cover a fleet wherever it needs to operate. Even the RAF has admitted that it cannot do so and the US Marine Corps is clearly wedded to the concept of embarked fighters in its LHA/Ds.

The benign post-Cold War maritime environment envisaged by politicians when the Canberra class was specified no longer exists. Sophisticated opposition on and above the sea surface can be expected even in the sort of limited war or deterrent situations in which these ships are more likely to find themselves than in all-out, total war. One of the major peacetime roles of all western navies is the deterrence of aggression in order to uphold the international rule of law. To achieve this task forces must be capable of deploying with a realistic air element if they are not to be perceived as being too vulnerable to deter. The success achieved by the Argentine Air Force in the South Atlantic War of 1982 stands out as the sort of opposition that must be anticipated, even in limited war. It is worth pointing out that the only RAF strike fighters to participate in that conflict were taken there in RN aircraft carriers and taught how to operate from the sea by the Fleet Air Arm.

A study of history gives many examples of how carrier-borne aircraft can be concentrated close to the scene of action to achieve the desired aim with a relatively small number of aircraft, pilots and maintenance technicians. In September 1943 the Allied landings at Salerno in Italy were supported at the outset by fighters operating from assault carriers close to the beach-head and land-based RAF and USAAF fighters operating from Sicily 200 nautical miles away. On Day 2 of the operation, 65 carrier-borne fighters flew 232 operational sorties on task over the landings. On the other hand, 641 land-based fighters flew 320 hours on task. These figures average out as 3.5 hours on task for each naval fighter and only 30 minutes for each land-based fighter. The latter also flew many hundreds of hours in non-effective transit from their remote bases which, incidentally, relied on sea power for their logistic re-supply.

The practicalities of modifying an RAN LHD into a more versatile type of warship would not be easy or cheap but would deliver capabilities significantly better aligned with today’s strategic environment than the original amphibious concept. Given the will it must be possible, why else would other navies have decided to do it. Italy has already described the work needed to upgrade Cavour from AV-8Bs to F-35Bs. It involves strengthening part of the flight deck and protecting it with a heat-resistant coating. Under the landing area cable runs would need to be re-routed to avoid ‘hot spots’ and briefing and maintenance areas would need to be re-constructed to incorporate the autonomic logistics information system, ALIS, the heart of the aircraft’s maintenance and operational planning network. Intelligence systems would also need to be upgraded but this would be to the benefit of the whole fleet. The ability to refuel, brief and re-arm F-35Bs would also bring enormous benefit in collaborative operations since RN, USMC, Japanese or Italian aircraft could operate from an Australian flat top whenever needed. RAN F-35Bs could also operate from RN, US or Japanese ships in collaborative operations when necessary in much the same way as USMC aircraft are to operate from Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales. Also of considerable importance would be the ability of the ARG commander to make real-time use of F-35B sensor downloads to enhance an RAN task force/ARG. The potential capability of the relatively small number of USMC F-35Bs embarked in their own flat tops is to be enhanced in the near future by the adoption of in-flight refuelling kits that can be fitted in MV-22B Ospreys to extend F-35B radius of action and endurance. A small purchase of these is an option the RAN might consider in its review of future force structure.

The cost/benefit analysis of the LHD modification would have to study, realistically, the enormous benefit of having a useful number of fighters at the scene of action in a wide range of operational scenarios without needing the whole RAAF F-35A and tanker forces in lengthy pre-planned sorties to keep them there. Besides having fighters based where they were needed, the enhanced co-operative engagement capability a relatively small number of F-35Bs would offer a task force, be it RAN-only or collaborative, in the emerging digital age would be significant. A briefing for the Australian Defence Force on recent USN/USMC LHD deployments with F-35Bs and their achievements would, hopefully, bring understanding of their benefit. Fighters on the spot could also fly both CAP and ground force support missions concurrently from the relatively small number of embarked aircraft. Long-range, shore-based fighters could not realistically operate with the reactive weapons load that would be required to do that. Their weapons would have to be pre-selected a relatively long time in advance to meet the rigid flying programme that long-range support would require. Aircraft arriving on task with the wrong choice of weapons could be a disaster that would take many hours to rectify, even if it was possible to do so. Urgent calls for close air support from amphibious forces in the beach head ashore could not be met since battlefield situations seldom last long enough to await the arrival of aircraft operating from remote airfields that require long transit flights to the battle-space. War-gaming scenarios would be a rewarding exercise to judge the full impact of this shortcoming in long-range fighter operations.

Given that Canberra and her sister-ship are stated to be capable of operating 18 MRH-90 and 8 Chinook helicopters at any one time in addition to the embarked military force and its vehicles, modification could allow variable air groups ranging from 12 F-35Bs in a sea control role or a flexible mix of 6 F-35Bs with 12 MRH-90 or SH-60R. The strategic picture having changed since the staff requirement for the LHDs first appeared, it is certainly arguable that dedicated amphibious-only LHDs no longer represent the ideal type of warship. They are big flat tops that would be far more flexible after modifications to allow both ships to operate in the dedicated fighter/sea control role, the dedicated amphibious role or a flexible mixture of both. The RN Queen Elizabeth class has evolved into the epitome of the latter and had individual build costs less than the mid-life refuelling cost of a USN Nimitz. During Queen Elizabeth‘s recent F-35B trials off the USA she also embarked sea control and amphibious helicopters, a 250 man RM commando and a mobile field hospital. This is the likely capability she will deploy with in her initial Far East deployment in 2021 together with one RN and one USMC F-35B squadron, each with 12 aircraft.

A recent paper published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute drew attention to the danger of operating aircraft-carrying ships in a contested environment. This danger certainly exists in a total war against a First Tier power such as China but it applies equally to the static airfields in Australia capable of operating F-35As which could be destroyed in the opening missile salvo of a total war. Anti-access and area denial weapons have certainly grabbed the analytical headlines but ballistic missiles capable of neutralising fixed bases ashore have been around for decades. At least a mobile task force which included its own F-35Bs would be more difficult to track and target and its multi-layered, three-dimensional, co-operative engagement capability would be an order of magnitude greater than anything immediately available to defend defence installations in mainland Australia. We expect the Australian LHDs to go into harm’s way as they are, even in total war. How much more effective both they and the wider RAN task force would be if they could embark a flexible mix of aircraft, including F-35Bs, to suit their intended mission.

In peacetime Australian armed forces, like those of other Western powers, are meant to pose sufficient risk to any would-be aggressor nation to dissuade it from resorting to total war to achieve its aims. In order to deter, peace-time forces must be maintained at a credible level and this ties in with the fact that there are many types of conflict in which Australia may become involved which are short of total war. Historically, aircraft carriers and their aircraft have excelled in these. The amphibious force that could be landed from the LHDs as they are at present configured would certainly be at risk in several layers of power projection or conflict without their own air component. As I have argued, the RAAF cannot realistically provide this for more than a few hours at a time outside the Australian littoral, maybe not even as long as that at greater distances. A balanced force with its own embarked F-35Bs might not be able to land as large a military force but it would be more effective, more survivable and much more flexible. US and French carrier and LHD operations against ISIS in Syria are a case in point. They provide exactly the right type and quantity of force at the right place for as long as it is required, earning the respect and admiration of Allies who lack such a capability and, of course their opponents who are unable to respond against them. HMAS Sydney‘s operations off Korea in 1951 were a classic example of this type of capability but Australian politicians seem not to have noticed.

In its Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs Number 26, A Historical Appreciation of the Contribution of Naval Air Power, the Sea Power Centre – Australia lists over 50 operations in which carriers of several nations have played major roles across the spectrum of warfare and humanitarian relief since 1945. It is by Andrew T Ross and James M Sandison with an introduction by Jack McCaffrie and is a first-rate statement on the effectiveness of carriers of every type as instruments of government policy in a wide range of conflicts. On page 52 in a section on sea-based air responses to crises in peace-time, the authors note that:

a. their mobility allows carriers to approach closer to the crisis centre than available airfields.

b. this has allowed improved availability of aircraft (for a standard unit aircraft establishment) at the crisis centre because of the shorter distances involved.

c. shorter flying distances have reduced the impact of aircrew fatigue ie during flying operations in the crisis area.

d. the placement of the aircraft carrier (the base or airfield) close to the crisis centre increases the flexibility with which it can exercise command and control and communicate its decisions and responses to sudden developments in the crisis zone.

e. the aircraft carrier provides an air base of high operational survivability in peace-time. This analysis shows a preponderance of incidents in which a threat existed at the crisis centre from ground force elements, making it difficult to guarantee survivability of land-based aircraft on the ground at the crisis location.

f. as a warship. the aircraft carrier with its aircraft is capable of projecting a more ambiguous presence than land-based aircraft flying from airfields..

g. the approach of an aircraft carrier closer to a crisis zone than available air bases gives its air group a higher credible deterrent value than for equivalent (but more distant) land-based air formations because of improved availability and flexibility.

I would only add that carrier-borne aircraft also give their Government options in extremis when no other aircraft are available. The 1982 war in the South Atlantic is an outstanding example.

*David Hobbs served in the Royal Navy from 1964 until 1997 and retired with the rank of Commander. He is qualified as both a fixed wing and rotary wing pilot and his log book contains 2,300 hours with over 800 carrier landings, 150 of which were at night. While in the Ministry of Defence he was responsible for developing carrier operating techniques in the Invincible class. The recovery of Sea Harriers at night and in bad weather was facilitated by the Deck Approach Projector Sight, a concept that he drove forward. He was the RN representative on an Information Exchange Programme with the US Navy through which he was closely involved in AV-8A trials at sea.

After retiring from the RN, he worked for eight years as the Curator of the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton. These days he writes for several journals and magazines and in 2005 won the award for the Aerospace Journalist of the Year, best Defence Submission, in Paris. The author of 22 books, his recent works include British Aircraft Carriers in 2013, The British Carrier Strike Fleet after 1945, in 2015, The Royal Navy’s Air Service in the Great War in 2017, the Aircraft Carrier Victorious in 2018 and The Dawn of Carrier Strike in 2019."


Source: https://navalinstitute.com.au/modify-lhds-for-f35bs/
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
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Conan

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Unread post04 Mar 2020, 04:35

ricnunes wrote:
Conan wrote:We are terribly vulnerable to missile strikes, having long neglected our air defence capabilities and having a rather strange political aversion to any form of missile defence for our major cities, bases, strategically important facilities (it might upset our regional ‘neighbours’ who afterall have invested heavily in such weapons capable of striking us, so we wouldn’t want to force them to consider buying more, because we have blunted their capability to use them, what? Really?). We have also demonstrated a rather unusual reluctance to undertake the usual base hardening measures most NATO nations take routinely for example and we have a very unusual vulnerability in our fuel security infrastructure...


And from where would such missile strikes come from?


Sea, air, land... The usual places I should imagine. It’s not only about territorial defence I am concerned about. Australian forces endured ballistic missile attack only weeks ago and our combined response with our allies, was to hide under OHP and pray... Ironically enough, that is the same response we have afforded our ground forces, after they have endured nearly 20 years of in-direct rocket, mortar and artillery attacks... OHP? Brilliant! Field Marshall Haig would consider such a capital idea and I’m sure he wouldn’t wonder why we have done NOTHING else in the 105 plus years since he used the same level of protection for Australian ground forces...

Is that good enough for a $40b a year funded defence force?

If it comes from ships and long range aircraft then I believe that Australia has a reasonably good Navy and IMO a very good Air Force plus some good early warning systems to counter such threats the best possible way.


Reasonable quality though far from the best, but the problem is availability. We have pretty good subs. But routine availability is to have 2 at sea. When we surge we can have 3 for some time, 4 for less time and that is it.

Similarly with the Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers, routine availability is 1 ship...

Would this make Australia impervious to missile strikes? Of course not but again I don't think that Australia is in any way less well equipped to deal with such threats (specially taking into account Australia's geographical location) compared with any other country in the world, except again for the USA.


No-one anywhere is ‘impervious’ to missile strikes, but we have zero ability to do anything about them if they were to be launched at us. We have deliberately NOT included Theatre BMD capability in the Hobart Class as a political decision, yet even if we had, where is that one ship we could have available, 2 in a surge situation, likely to be positioned? We have a lot of places to protect and short of a multi-billion dollar upgrade to the Hobarts, nothing at all, with which to protect them. Not even the usual ‘deployable only’ capability we usually fund...

I would also say that the lack of "hardening measures" or with "air/missile defence" (I gather you mean SAMs here, no?) is again due to Australia's geographical location. Due to this reason alone (Australia's geographical location), I would say that launching a missile strike against Australia is in itself a very hard task to do!

I would say it’s due to complacency. We have been finger wagging at NK, Iran, China, Russia etc for years for their rapid build up of long range missile capability in air, sea and land variants yet we have done nothing. We recognise the threat, yet ignore it at the same time...

Conan wrote:Our sea lines of communication are also horribly exposed by the miniscule size of our naval and air capabilities, but these are the main ‘conventional’ threats we face, not so much the threat of conventional invasion.


Well, I wouldn't call a Navy that has or will have 2 LHA's, 2 AAW Destroyers, 9 Frigates (in the future), 12 Submarines (in the future) plus and Air Force with 12 P-8 ASW aircraft, 6 E-7A AEW&C aircraft, around 100 fighter/combat aircraft (in the future), 7 Tanker aircraft (Airbus A330 MRTT), 6 MQ-4C Triton UAVs (in the future), 24 MH-60 Seahawk ASW helicopters to be a minuscule size force.
I guess that if Australia had more surface combatant ships (Destroyers and Frigates) and more ASW helicopters it would IMO be better specially to deal with potential enemy Submarines. But in no way this is minuscule force but of course that enemy submarines would be a "tough nut" for Australia "to crack" but then again such threat is a "tough nut to crack" when it comes to any other country on this planet, including the USA.


Again, it’s numbers. We have 3 AAW Destroyers - the Hobarts. At best under wartime surge conditions, we could park one in the West and one in the North, or East. But not both. So which 50% of the country do we choose to offer ZERO protection to? In around 15 years time, things will be marginally better, we’ll have a couple of Hunters as well in-service that can do a bit of AAW / BMD if they are equipped adequately, which at present they aren’t planned to be, but could be upgraded.

Those 100 fighters? Sounds great when you put it that way. But it equals in reality, 4 operational squadrons... The UK can’t defend the UK with less than 7 fighter squadrons, yet we have 4 squadrons for a landmass, 30 times bigger?

12 subs? Yeah, by 2060... So in 40 years time, we’ll be looking okay? Lovely. That REALLY puts my mind at ease... I wish I could escape the sneaking suspicion however that what ‘they’ mean by 12, is ‘12’ will be built, but we’ll never actually see 12 in-service at any one time. More like 8 at any one time, with the last 4 replacing the first 4...

So to recap on current plans, as long as no-one threatens us, let alone actually engages us with missile strikes, within the next 15-40 years, we will have a capability to actually do something about it, IF the politicians and DFAT get over their hang ups about ‘ballistic missile defence’ and how ‘regionally upsetting’ such a capability might be?

We’re also on current plans not going to harden any military base or critical infrastructure (including such unimportant things as fuel supply...) anywhere in the country in any significant way OR provide a ground based defence system of any kind?

Okay... Some really great ‘planning’ going on there...
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Unread post04 Mar 2020, 15:15

spazsinbad wrote:
Conan wrote:
spazsinbad wrote:'Conan' where ya bin?! I would agree with all of that I'm just making a SARCASTIC point that 'money is no object' for upgrading RAAF bases (TIN BALL will not be a bare base I'll guess) yet ALWAYS money is cited as the reason why making the LHDs able to operate F-35Bs is too expensive - even if these aircraft belong to another country - an ally even. However I have given up the idea that Australia (which may or may not include the Navy Army or RAAF) will ever operate the F-35B.

It is a shame that the Navy has reduced itself to operating HUGE ARMY buses in a benign environment - so be it.


I float around, my friend... 8) I don’t think Tindal has ‘ever’ been a bare base? It’s RAAF’s primary ‘operational’ fighter base, afterall... Money is no option for F-35 capability, if you want it... A very similar amount of money was spent bringing Williamtown up to speed as well and I assume one day if the mythical ‘4th squadron’ ever gets the go ahead, much the same will be spent at Amberley too. I guess a billion and a half here, a billion and a half there adds up, even for a Government who apparently have no qualms about spending a large amount on defence, so long as there’s jerbs to go with it... (Cough, $6b a piece new subs...)

I think you’re doing a disservice to your old employer there though. Navy does a but more than just drive the Army around, sure some F-35B’s would make her even more exciting than now, but it just isn’t on anyone’s radar (teehee...) I’m afraid. Only Ex-PM Captain Call himself I’m afraid and no-one much listens to that buffoon these days...

Been offline with TELSTRA malfunctions for past week - so typical of my local area which even now does not have NBN. I guess NBN here is like 'F-35Bs on LHDs'. It will happen one day but perhaps only in the dreamtime. I still have not seen a 'FLEET DEFENCE PLAN outline' - just happy words. The ARMY needs to wake up and read this for example:
Modify LHDs for F35Bs? [It is a long article]
01 Mar 2020 David Hobbs

"The tactical air element of Australian amphibious ready group, ARG, concept as it is defined in 2020 has much in common with the failed UK ‘tactical air support for maritime operations’, TASMO, concept adopted by the UK Government in the 1970s. This tasked shore-based RAF aircraft, many of them removed from the Fleet Air Arm to justify a political decision to run down the carrier force, to provide the fixed-wing air element of any deployed RN task force. The concept proved to be valueless during the South Atlantic War of 1982 and could never have worked more than 200 nautical miles from the UK coast, if then. If a similar concept could work now, the USA, China, India, Italy and France would have considered it; they have not.

Even if the whole RAAF tanker and fighter forces were to be deployed in support of the ARG deployed more than 200 nautical miles from the Australian coast, the requirement to maintain 2 combat ready F-35As on combat air patrol, CAP, over the fleet 24 hours a day 7 days a week for any extended period in which the force might be in danger could still hardly be met. Such a commitment would require at any one time not only the 2 fighters on task but 2 more airborne to replace them with 2 more on their way home having been replaced. At really long ranges two sets of 2 replacement aircraft, an hour apart would be needed and a contingency force of 2 at alert might be needed to cover contingencies such as the loss of an aircraft in combat, unserviceability or the CAP using up its ammunition early in its time on task. A long-term predictive flying programme would be needed with aircraft flying most of their time airborne in transit, not in the operational area. An element of reactive force would have to be added to the predicted programme but, even then, rapid reaction would not be possible from a remote base a long way from the ARG.

The provision of AEW and MPA on a continuing basis at long range would require 4 aircraft each at any one time, one on task, one on the way out, one on the way back and one being prepared/briefed ready for flight. How many tankers does the RAAF have? How many other missions would they be required to fulfil? Continuous tanker support over the ARG would, of course, be of critical importance since the failure of a single tanker could result in the loss of the aircraft it was intended to support if they ran out of fuel in a predictive programme a long way from any friendly base. Long-range AEW and MPA aircraft might get by without tankers but, depending on the range at which operations would be carried out, the resulting shorter time on task at longer ranges would require more aircraft to provide gapless cover. Does the RAAF have the resources to achieve this? I would say it does not.

A carrier, on the other hand, can fly short sorties with a smaller number of fighters. They could act as an integrated part of the ARG/task force in a way that remote-based F-35s could not. Co-operative engagement capability offers the chance for F-35s to cue surface ship missiles and download both reconnaissance and Sigint information in real time. Enhancing the co-operative engagement capability of air warfare destroyers and the Hunter class future frigates with CAP aircraft that could realistically cover a task force for prolonged periods in battle space that is remote from the Australian mainland would, in my opinion, justify the cost of modifying the Canberra class even before the other benefits the F-35B would bring to the fleet are taken into account. Ship-based fighters would be close to the scene of action and reinforcements could be flown off reactively and quickly to supplement those already airborne, perhaps with differing weapons loads, when required. Remote land-based aircraft could not do this because they would take hours to reach the fleet. Those who claim that the operation of aircraft at very long range from land bases to provide the air element of a deployed naval task force are being disingenuous if they claim that this could be done effectively without committing the entire RAAF fighter and tanker inventory to it. A much smaller number of embarked fighters could do the same task leaving a proportion of the land-based aircraft to fight their own air warfare objectives.

If the whole fighter/tanker force was to be committed to long range task force support for a prolonged period, the aircraft would use up most of their flying hours in transit flights outside the operational area and aircrew fatigue flying long transit flights every day for prolonged periods would quickly become a factor. This would not apply to embarked fighters to anything like the same degree. There may also be occasions when the threat level would reduce to the point where combat air patrols from a carrier within the task force could be reduced to a quick reaction alert level. Long-range aircraft operations from a land base could not be stood down in the same way since their intervention would be too slow to react to meet rapid changes in the threat level in the fleet’s close proximity. Proponents of land-based fighter operations as a component element of a deployed naval task force might advance the idea that they could be deployed forward to temporary bases closer to the area of operations, the ‘island strategy’. Any rational appraisal of such a proposal would soon reveal the limitations of this concept. A carrier arrives in the area of operations ready to go into action with fully functioning command, control and communications; its aircraft are ready to fly and it contains fuel, maintenance facilities and air weapons to sustain the aircraft in combat. Not the least important, they have ‘people support’ facilities that allow aircrew and technicians to eat, sleep, rest and be briefed between sorties and carry out essential aircraft maintenance. The carrier would be at the centre of a sophisticated, three-dimensional defensive system and auxiliaries would form part of the task force with fuel, ammunition and other commodities required to maintain the task force in action. None of these advantages would apply to a temporary air base and the logistic operation required to create it would be enormous and completely beyond the short-notice capability of the RAAF in a major conflict. Who would defend it? The amphibious force embarked in the LHD? Air warfare destroyers? What would be the impact of their re-assignment on their original task? Attempting to set up a mobile base would draw aircraft from every other task and would still only produce a pale shadow of what a task force/ARG with its own embarked fighters could achieve. It would actually be more vulnerable than a carrier in a total war.

As for the RAN LHDs themselves, their Spanish design origins certainly had AV-8B Harrier operations in mind, hence the ski-jump. They are, however, smaller than other flat-tops such as Izumo, Cavour and, especially, the USN Wasp and America classes. All these are being modified to operate the F-35B in varying numbers and the RAN will have studied potential conversion packages and their likely cost to get a feel for the facts rather than hyperbole. The South Korean Navy is considering modifying its second LHD, Marado, into an F-35B carrier. It is larger than its half-sister Dokdo but smaller than Canberra so this is also a project worth studying. Of interest a recent Japanese Ministry of Defence press release stated that US$28 million has been allocated for Izumo‘s initial conversion to operate F-35Bs. This figure is far less than the figure of Aus$500 million suggested by some sources in Australia for Canberra‘s conversion. What is the true figure? Given the value of embarked F-35Bs in terms of reconnaissance, intelligence and as a co-operative engagement node in addition to their more obvious short-range fighter and strike capabilities, arguably a Canberra conversion would enhance RAN capability to the extent that an expensive work package could be justified. With considerable international interest in modifying a variety of amphibious ‘flat tops’ into versatile F-35B carriers, the RAAF seems to be alone in claiming that shore-based aircraft can cover a fleet wherever it needs to operate. Even the RAF has admitted that it cannot do so and the US Marine Corps is clearly wedded to the concept of embarked fighters in its LHA/Ds.

The benign post-Cold War maritime environment envisaged by politicians when the Canberra class was specified no longer exists. Sophisticated opposition on and above the sea surface can be expected even in the sort of limited war or deterrent situations in which these ships are more likely to find themselves than in all-out, total war. One of the major peacetime roles of all western navies is the deterrence of aggression in order to uphold the international rule of law. To achieve this task forces must be capable of deploying with a realistic air element if they are not to be perceived as being too vulnerable to deter. The success achieved by the Argentine Air Force in the South Atlantic War of 1982 stands out as the sort of opposition that must be anticipated, even in limited war. It is worth pointing out that the only RAF strike fighters to participate in that conflict were taken there in RN aircraft carriers and taught how to operate from the sea by the Fleet Air Arm.

A study of history gives many examples of how carrier-borne aircraft can be concentrated close to the scene of action to achieve the desired aim with a relatively small number of aircraft, pilots and maintenance technicians. In September 1943 the Allied landings at Salerno in Italy were supported at the outset by fighters operating from assault carriers close to the beach-head and land-based RAF and USAAF fighters operating from Sicily 200 nautical miles away. On Day 2 of the operation, 65 carrier-borne fighters flew 232 operational sorties on task over the landings. On the other hand, 641 land-based fighters flew 320 hours on task. These figures average out as 3.5 hours on task for each naval fighter and only 30 minutes for each land-based fighter. The latter also flew many hundreds of hours in non-effective transit from their remote bases which, incidentally, relied on sea power for their logistic re-supply.

The practicalities of modifying an RAN LHD into a more versatile type of warship would not be easy or cheap but would deliver capabilities significantly better aligned with today’s strategic environment than the original amphibious concept. Given the will it must be possible, why else would other navies have decided to do it. Italy has already described the work needed to upgrade Cavour from AV-8Bs to F-35Bs. It involves strengthening part of the flight deck and protecting it with a heat-resistant coating. Under the landing area cable runs would need to be re-routed to avoid ‘hot spots’ and briefing and maintenance areas would need to be re-constructed to incorporate the autonomic logistics information system, ALIS, the heart of the aircraft’s maintenance and operational planning network. Intelligence systems would also need to be upgraded but this would be to the benefit of the whole fleet. The ability to refuel, brief and re-arm F-35Bs would also bring enormous benefit in collaborative operations since RN, USMC, Japanese or Italian aircraft could operate from an Australian flat top whenever needed. RAN F-35Bs could also operate from RN, US or Japanese ships in collaborative operations when necessary in much the same way as USMC aircraft are to operate from Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales. Also of considerable importance would be the ability of the ARG commander to make real-time use of F-35B sensor downloads to enhance an RAN task force/ARG. The potential capability of the relatively small number of USMC F-35Bs embarked in their own flat tops is to be enhanced in the near future by the adoption of in-flight refuelling kits that can be fitted in MV-22B Ospreys to extend F-35B radius of action and endurance. A small purchase of these is an option the RAN might consider in its review of future force structure.

The cost/benefit analysis of the LHD modification would have to study, realistically, the enormous benefit of having a useful number of fighters at the scene of action in a wide range of operational scenarios without needing the whole RAAF F-35A and tanker forces in lengthy pre-planned sorties to keep them there. Besides having fighters based where they were needed, the enhanced co-operative engagement capability a relatively small number of F-35Bs would offer a task force, be it RAN-only or collaborative, in the emerging digital age would be significant. A briefing for the Australian Defence Force on recent USN/USMC LHD deployments with F-35Bs and their achievements would, hopefully, bring understanding of their benefit. Fighters on the spot could also fly both CAP and ground force support missions concurrently from the relatively small number of embarked aircraft. Long-range, shore-based fighters could not realistically operate with the reactive weapons load that would be required to do that. Their weapons would have to be pre-selected a relatively long time in advance to meet the rigid flying programme that long-range support would require. Aircraft arriving on task with the wrong choice of weapons could be a disaster that would take many hours to rectify, even if it was possible to do so. Urgent calls for close air support from amphibious forces in the beach head ashore could not be met since battlefield situations seldom last long enough to await the arrival of aircraft operating from remote airfields that require long transit flights to the battle-space. War-gaming scenarios would be a rewarding exercise to judge the full impact of this shortcoming in long-range fighter operations.

Given that Canberra and her sister-ship are stated to be capable of operating 18 MRH-90 and 8 Chinook helicopters at any one time in addition to the embarked military force and its vehicles, modification could allow variable air groups ranging from 12 F-35Bs in a sea control role or a flexible mix of 6 F-35Bs with 12 MRH-90 or SH-60R. The strategic picture having changed since the staff requirement for the LHDs first appeared, it is certainly arguable that dedicated amphibious-only LHDs no longer represent the ideal type of warship. They are big flat tops that would be far more flexible after modifications to allow both ships to operate in the dedicated fighter/sea control role, the dedicated amphibious role or a flexible mixture of both. The RN Queen Elizabeth class has evolved into the epitome of the latter and had individual build costs less than the mid-life refuelling cost of a USN Nimitz. During Queen Elizabeth‘s recent F-35B trials off the USA she also embarked sea control and amphibious helicopters, a 250 man RM commando and a mobile field hospital. This is the likely capability she will deploy with in her initial Far East deployment in 2021 together with one RN and one USMC F-35B squadron, each with 12 aircraft.

A recent paper published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute drew attention to the danger of operating aircraft-carrying ships in a contested environment. This danger certainly exists in a total war against a First Tier power such as China but it applies equally to the static airfields in Australia capable of operating F-35As which could be destroyed in the opening missile salvo of a total war. Anti-access and area denial weapons have certainly grabbed the analytical headlines but ballistic missiles capable of neutralising fixed bases ashore have been around for decades. At least a mobile task force which included its own F-35Bs would be more difficult to track and target and its multi-layered, three-dimensional, co-operative engagement capability would be an order of magnitude greater than anything immediately available to defend defence installations in mainland Australia. We expect the Australian LHDs to go into harm’s way as they are, even in total war. How much more effective both they and the wider RAN task force would be if they could embark a flexible mix of aircraft, including F-35Bs, to suit their intended mission.

In peacetime Australian armed forces, like those of other Western powers, are meant to pose sufficient risk to any would-be aggressor nation to dissuade it from resorting to total war to achieve its aims. In order to deter, peace-time forces must be maintained at a credible level and this ties in with the fact that there are many types of conflict in which Australia may become involved which are short of total war. Historically, aircraft carriers and their aircraft have excelled in these. The amphibious force that could be landed from the LHDs as they are at present configured would certainly be at risk in several layers of power projection or conflict without their own air component. As I have argued, the RAAF cannot realistically provide this for more than a few hours at a time outside the Australian littoral, maybe not even as long as that at greater distances. A balanced force with its own embarked F-35Bs might not be able to land as large a military force but it would be more effective, more survivable and much more flexible. US and French carrier and LHD operations against ISIS in Syria are a case in point. They provide exactly the right type and quantity of force at the right place for as long as it is required, earning the respect and admiration of Allies who lack such a capability and, of course their opponents who are unable to respond against them. HMAS Sydney‘s operations off Korea in 1951 were a classic example of this type of capability but Australian politicians seem not to have noticed.

In its Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs Number 26, A Historical Appreciation of the Contribution of Naval Air Power, the Sea Power Centre – Australia lists over 50 operations in which carriers of several nations have played major roles across the spectrum of warfare and humanitarian relief since 1945. It is by Andrew T Ross and James M Sandison with an introduction by Jack McCaffrie and is a first-rate statement on the effectiveness of carriers of every type as instruments of government policy in a wide range of conflicts. On page 52 in a section on sea-based air responses to crises in peace-time, the authors note that:

a. their mobility allows carriers to approach closer to the crisis centre than available airfields.

b. this has allowed improved availability of aircraft (for a standard unit aircraft establishment) at the crisis centre because of the shorter distances involved.

c. shorter flying distances have reduced the impact of aircrew fatigue ie during flying operations in the crisis area.

d. the placement of the aircraft carrier (the base or airfield) close to the crisis centre increases the flexibility with which it can exercise command and control and communicate its decisions and responses to sudden developments in the crisis zone.

e. the aircraft carrier provides an air base of high operational survivability in peace-time. This analysis shows a preponderance of incidents in which a threat existed at the crisis centre from ground force elements, making it difficult to guarantee survivability of land-based aircraft on the ground at the crisis location.

f. as a warship. the aircraft carrier with its aircraft is capable of projecting a more ambiguous presence than land-based aircraft flying from airfields..

g. the approach of an aircraft carrier closer to a crisis zone than available air bases gives its air group a higher credible deterrent value than for equivalent (but more distant) land-based air formations because of improved availability and flexibility.

I would only add that carrier-borne aircraft also give their Government options in extremis when no other aircraft are available. The 1982 war in the South Atlantic is an outstanding example.

*David Hobbs served in the Royal Navy from 1964 until 1997 and retired with the rank of Commander. He is qualified as both a fixed wing and rotary wing pilot and his log book contains 2,300 hours with over 800 carrier landings, 150 of which were at night. While in the Ministry of Defence he was responsible for developing carrier operating techniques in the Invincible class. The recovery of Sea Harriers at night and in bad weather was facilitated by the Deck Approach Projector Sight, a concept that he drove forward. He was the RN representative on an Information Exchange Programme with the US Navy through which he was closely involved in AV-8A trials at sea.

After retiring from the RN, he worked for eight years as the Curator of the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton. These days he writes for several journals and magazines and in 2005 won the award for the Aerospace Journalist of the Year, best Defence Submission, in Paris. The author of 22 books, his recent works include British Aircraft Carriers in 2013, The British Carrier Strike Fleet after 1945, in 2015, The Royal Navy’s Air Service in the Great War in 2017, the Aircraft Carrier Victorious in 2018 and The Dawn of Carrier Strike in 2019."


Source: https://navalinstitute.com.au/modify-lhds-for-f35bs/


Why would the Army or RAAF bother reading such drivel? No-one in their right mind would try to run ops in that fashion... Where is this ‘ARG’ going? To single-handedly invade China and re-fight the Boxer rebellion maybe? Have a look at a map... 270 degrees around Australia is nothing but open ocean... So in other words this gentleman’s ‘vignette’ to put this concept ‘politely’ is that we are going to deploy an ARG against a nation state at more than 200nm beyond our coastline single-handedly and therefore we need a dozen or so F-35B’s to make this work... Ah-huh. Are you still wondering why Russell Offices laugh at this guy? Or should I explain further?

Even his beloved uK forces, operate Tiffies from the Falklands rather than a local carrier, for a VERY good reason. Land based air power is far more efficient and capable than carrier air power ever could be. Hence the vast preponderance of ‘air’ forces in the world and the very few ‘carrier’ forces around the traps...

He lauds the ‘success’ of the Argentinian Air Force. That ‘amazing’ land based air force that would have changed his one single example from relative success (completely ignoring of course the elements of that operation that have relevance to the ADF that ACTUALLY made that operation work, namely the insertion of ground forces...) to an embarrassingly abject failure if it had nothing more than an additional half a dozen or so Exocet missiles? Because if they did, that ‘STOVL’ aircraft supported ‘ARG’ could not in reality have sustained any further losses and the entire Op would not have succeeded...

Okay man... Geez... Is it just me, that is glad that dude is retired?
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Unread post04 Mar 2020, 15:34

It is late here and I'll get back to it tomorrow, however I have lived long enough to remember East Timor and Fiji - especially with our Navy / ADF gearing up to bring back Australians from Fiji in difficult circumstances. Perhaps at that time Fiji did not have a lot of firepower whilst East Timor was not going to be a walkover if things went sour. Probably Hobbs does go over the top but I make the point as always: why not allow other F-35Bs the possibility to operate from our LHDs. Shirley this is what having allies with similar aircraft is all about - whilst NOT invading China - exaggerate much?
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Unread post04 Mar 2020, 17:22

spazsinbad wrote:It is late here and I'll get back to it tomorrow, however I have lived long enough to remember East Timor and Fiji - especially with our Navy / ADF gearing up to bring back Australians from Fiji in difficult circumstances. Perhaps at that time Fiji did not have a lot of firepower whilst East Timor was not going to be a walkover if things went sour. Probably Hobbs does go over the top but I make the point as always: why not allow other F-35Bs the possibility to operate from our LHDs. Shirley this is what having allies with similar aircraft is all about - whilst NOT invading China - exaggerate much?


Of course I am exaggerating, because I am responding to the preposterous ‘scenario’ presented here... He is presenting a concept whereby Australia is contemplating putting <1000 troops via an ‘ARG’ (of which he clearly doesn’t even understand the meaning of the term in an Australian context) against a nation state unilaterally, that possess any advanced military capability you would like, and using the example of what the British faced in the Falklands as his yardstick about what we should do in such a (ridiculous) scenario...

Sorry, I at least reached the bit about air to air refuelling MV-22’s we’ll need, before I tuned out...

And Timor? That could have Hornets providing CAP from Darwin? Okay...

Can someone please tell this guy we operate 43 odd ships in the RAN and possess a pool of 11 Phalanx CIWS, because that’s all we can afford? Considering the plans for the LHD’s, support ships and Hunters, we’re only 20 odd systems short of our required minimum operating baseline and half of the ones we have haven’t been upgraded to Block 1B, because we can’t afford it.

But sure. Of course we’re getting modified LHD’s, a new fleet of F-35B’s, a fleet of air to air refuelling MV-22B’s, and hey? Why not for the hell of it, a VTOL AEW&C aircraft based on the Osprey as well? All of these things, the money, the people, the training pipeline, the doctrine, it can all just be wished, can’t it? I used to wish I could get a complete CES for the MAG-58 the RAAF used to issue me. But do you think I could? Ha!

Just don’t expect these LHD’s to have any Phalanx’s on them as well, because the budget will be well and truly blown then... In fact the Navy might have to sell all 11 Phalanx’s it can already afford, just to try to pay for all this stuff...
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Unread post04 Mar 2020, 21:15

Conan wrote:Sea, air, land... The usual places I should imagine. It’s not only about territorial defence I am concerned about. Australian forces endured ballistic missile attack only weeks ago and our combined response with our allies, was to hide under OHP and pray... Ironically enough, that is the same response we have afforded our ground forces, after they have endured nearly 20 years of in-direct rocket, mortar and artillery attacks... OHP? Brilliant! Field Marshall Haig would consider such a capital idea and I’m sure he wouldn’t wonder why we have done NOTHING else in the 105 plus years since he used the same level of protection for Australian ground forces...


Ok, I know where you're trying to get at: You're mentioning Defense against ballistic missile threats for an (Australian) Expeditionary Force, right?
However I was simply pointing out Defense (including against ballistic missile) for the Australian Territory. Anyway and speaking about potential ballistic missiles against Australia, I would say that if such type of attack would happen, this would come from missiles such as ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) since these would be the only ones that would have the range of reaching Australia if launched from countries such as China, North Korea, etc...
Even IRBMs (intermediate-range ballistic missiles) launched from China (or North Korea, etc...) wouldn't have the range to reach Australia, specially the central and southernmost parts of the territory, this due to the geographic location of Australia. So again, this leaves ICBMs as the only true ballistic missile threat when it comes to Australia but then again these weapons are extremely expensive and as such usually reserved to carry Nukes which of course if released would mean and totally and completely different "ball game", one that we hope will never happen!

Obviously I agree that Australia in terms of Air Defense for its Expeditionary Forces should adquire Air Defense Systems not only against ballistic missiles but above all against Artillery and Mortar shells and Artillery Rockets (MLRS) but this would IMO be a different discussion from what we're having now.

I also agree that equipping the Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers with Theatre BMD weapons/missiles would be a good idea and would help to solve the problems/lacking that the Australians have in terms of Air Defense abroad and domestically at the same time.
I understand your point about the only having the three (3) Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers. I guess that the future Hunter-class frigates (9 planned) could technically be able use Theatre BMD missiles as well in order to complement the Hobart Destroyers, no?


Conan wrote:Again, it’s numbers. We have 3 AAW Destroyers - the Hobarts. At best under wartime surge conditions, we could park one in the West and one in the North, or East. But not both. So which 50% of the country do we choose to offer ZERO protection to?


The Outback :mrgreen:
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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Unread post04 Mar 2020, 21:58

Spaz, I gave up on landlines and went home wireless, It's choked to about 5 mbps, nextel lie and say up to 10
https://www.whistleout.com.au/Broadband ... band-Plans

The white papers 50 years ago sorted 'fortress Australia' vs 'forward defence.' We spend our money tagging along with USA, bringing freedom and democracy to the world.

http://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads ... ch0143.pdf

https://www.jstor.org/stable/26465603?s ... b_contents
Last edited by optimist on 04 Mar 2020, 22:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post04 Mar 2020, 22:16

optimist wrote:Spaz, I gave up on landlines and went home wireless, It's choked to about 5 mbps, nextel lie and say up to 10
https://www.whistleout.com.au/Broadband ... band-Plans

The white papers sorted 'fortress Australia' vs 'forward defence.' We went the latter
http://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads ... ch0143.pdf

Interesting that with IE 11 on my computer with Win10 updated the second paragraph about white papers with URL does not show. I guess we may see it when I post my 'off topic about getting connected again' response.

Turns out fault was at local phone exchange whilst my modem was original Telstra ADSL2 - very old - it did not connect once the landline fixed so I bought a Telstra NBN/ADSL2 compatible modem (which apparently is supplied to NBN Telstra subscribers). Still no NBN in my local area although available in nearby areas. I'm on a BIGPOND plan.

HUH I see now another (third) URL so you must have been updating your post as I typed this reply. Have yet to follow these URLs which I'll do now....
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
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optimist

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Unread post04 Mar 2020, 22:39

I just threw up a couple of links as an overview. Do your own google on "fortress Australia" vs 'forward defence.' from the late 60's. It's been a tug of war.

ran guy
https://video.army.gov.au/ADC/ADFJ/Docu ... y_2015.pdf
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spazsinbad

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Unread post05 Mar 2020, 04:15

Ceaseless wonderment. A4Gs went to RNZAF then to DRAKEN to fly today whilst now some CLASSIC F-18s go to AIR USA.
F/A-18 disposal provides Hunter region jobs
05 Mar 2020 The Hon Melissa Price MP

"Workers at RAAF Base Williamtown will service and prepare up to 46 retired F/A-18 Classic Hornet aircraft that will be sold to air combat training company Air USA. The Classic Hornet aircraft will be used to provide training services to the United States Air Force and will be prepared over the next three to four years.

Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Melissa Price MP, said the work will provide employment certainty for workers in the NSW Hunter region. “The work to prepare these aircraft and components for sale will provide 24 direct industry jobs while Air Force transitions from the Classic Hornet to the F‑35 Joint Strike Fighter,” Minister Price said.

“This highlights the strong performance of the region’s defence industry in servicing and maintaining the Classic Hornets over the past 30 years.” “Apart from the jobs directly supported by the work at RAAF Base Williamtown, more defence industry jobs are expected to be created across Australia through repair and overhaul work on aircraft servicing components.”

The RAAF Classic Hornet fleet is being progressively retired as the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter is introduced into service. The Morrison Government has now taken delivery of 20 Joint Strike Fighters, out of a total order of 72.

Source:
https://www.minister.defence.gov.au/min ... egion-jobs
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
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