Joint strike fighter program a 'failure' (from beloved APA)

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wrightwing

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Unread post29 Feb 2012, 16:19

jeffb wrote: You claim that their numbers are rubbish (without supporting evidence I might add), I claim you ‘perceive’ things that may not actually be there.


It's one thing to believe that the manufacturer can meet the design requirements, in terms of what the aircraft can do. It's quite another to make assertions from out of one's hind quarters, about what something can't do.

Sure if you like “ridin’ the rattler” but you stated that the F-35 has the “performance and agility at least equal to F/A-18 and F-16 fighters” when plainly it does not. Bit hypocritical to turn around and say that APA make stuff up when you’re doing it yourself.


Making things up would imply providing numbers/capabilities that the manufacturer has never claimed, and that the customer never specified. On many occasions, both LM and USAF have claimed that the F-35 will have not only equal performance to the planes being replaced, but superior.
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Conan

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Unread post01 Mar 2012, 03:37

jeffb wrote:You claim that their numbers are rubbish (without supporting evidence I might add), I claim you ‘perceive’ things that may not actually be there.


Their numbers are rubbish. Let's look at their latest "simulation" shall we?

The starting point for their "techno-strategic thinking" based assumption is that China will have 240 combat coded SU-35S fighters available to fight a war in 2018.

As we all know combat coded fighters are only part of a force. Such a large amount of fighter aircraft in reality would come from a much larger force (likely in excess of 300 aircraft) however let's stick to that figure of 240 aircraft only for the sake of brevity, and assume (again unrealistically) that China has somehow managed to get every single SU-35S fighter it owns into the air that day.

To get to that point given that as of 1 March 2012 China has precisely ZERO SU-35S fighters in it's inventory and ZERO SU-35S arcraft on order, then it will be roughly 3 years before they could see their first SU-35S fighter delivered to them by Sukhoi. So March 1, 2015 as a not unrealistic time for initial delivery of aircraft from an immature production line.

To achieve 240 aircraft In-servce by 2018, Sukhoi would then have to ramp up deliveries of produced aircraft to more than 80 aircraft per year to achieve this fleet by 2018. A rate that exceeds any fighter production line in the world today by an impossible margin.

Then on top of that impossible assumption one has to assume that China can field 240 trained pilots for it's SU-35S's in that time, that it's weapons inventories can be filled in that time and so on and so on.

These assumptions are ludicrous. They are completely unrealistic and demonstrably impossible through observable reality. The current build rate of SU-35S in it's current low rate initial production phase is about 3 aircraft per year with it's level of funding and resources. APA might as well have devised a scenario where 1000x SU-35 fighters took on 1000x F-35's, it would have been as realistic as the nonsense they provided to the Senate.

You want fudged figures? APA are the masters of them. Their entire arguments are built on a huge stacks of cards that don't stand up well to anyone that bothers to pull them apart.

The fact that "peer review" in APA parlance means that Dr Kopp has looked at Goon's work and Goon has looked at Dr Kopp's work should be enough of a hint about these guys, but apparently not for some...



Sure if you like “ridin’ the rattler” but you stated that the F-35 has the “performance and agility at least equal to F/A-18 and F-16 fighters” when plainly it does not. Bit hypocritical to turn around and say that APA make stuff up when you’re doing it yourself.


I didn't make that claim and I'm not "fudging" it. Lockheed Martin and the partner nations make them. There is nothing "plain" about the claim though, so please feel free to advise L-M, the maker of the F-16 and F-35 that it's claims about it's own fighters are wrong...

As I said , the manufacturer *hopes* to improve the handling characteristics to bring it in line with current fourth gen aircraft at some point in the future, until they do you really shouldn’t embroider.


Ah the old, "because something has not yet done something yet, that it can't" idea. Talk about grasping at straws. The only reason it doesn't yet match the performance or agility of the in-service jets, is because it's envelope hasn't been fully cleared yet, because it hasn't yet reached that point in it's development. That doesn't mean the aircraft cannot do what it is designed to however (which is match or exceed the performance of the F-16 and F/A-18 aircraft) but rather it's not yet safe enough to do so.

12 months, ago an F-35 couldn't fly at Mach 1.6 and Goon happily told all who'd listen it would never reach it's intended top speed.

Times have changed apparently...

So what happens? You wait behind the door with the chloroform and get the new guy hooked up before he’s had a chance to sit down? Smooth.


Okay... Whatever floats your boat buddy.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post01 Mar 2012, 05:56

Ah the old, "because something has not yet done something yet, that it can't" idea.
Where does that leave the J-20 and Pak Fa? ;)
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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hb_pencil

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Unread post01 Mar 2012, 07:26

Conan wrote:
jeffb wrote:You claim that their numbers are rubbish (without supporting evidence I might add), I claim you ‘perceive’ things that may not actually be there.


Their numbers are rubbish. Let's look at their latest "simulation" shall we?

The starting point for their "techno-strategic thinking" based assumption is that China will have 240 combat coded SU-35S fighters available to fight a war in 2018.

As we all know combat coded fighters are only part of a force. Such a large amount of fighter aircraft in reality would come from a much larger force (likely in excess of 300 aircraft) however let's stick to that figure of 240 aircraft only for the sake of brevity, and assume (again unrealistically) that China has somehow managed to get every single SU-35S fighter it owns into the air that day.

To get to that point given that as of 1 March 2012 China has precisely ZERO SU-35S fighters in it's inventory and ZERO SU-35S arcraft on order, then it will be roughly 3 years before they could see their first SU-35S fighter delivered to them by Sukhoi. So March 1, 2015 as a not unrealistic time for initial delivery of aircraft from an immature production line.

To achieve 240 aircraft In-servce by 2018, Sukhoi would then have to ramp up deliveries of produced aircraft to more than 80 aircraft per year to achieve this fleet by 2018. A rate that exceeds any fighter production line in the world today by an impossible margin.

Then on top of that impossible assumption one has to assume that China can field 240 trained pilots for it's SU-35S's in that time, that it's weapons inventories can be filled in that time and so on and so on.

These assumptions are ludicrous. They are completely unrealistic and demonstrably impossible through observable reality. The current build rate of SU-35S in it's current low rate initial production phase is about 3 aircraft per year with it's level of funding and resources. APA might as well have devised a scenario where 1000x SU-35 fighters took on 1000x F-35's, it would have been as realistic as the nonsense they provided to the Senate.

You want fudged figures? APA are the masters of them. Their entire arguments are built on a huge stacks of cards that don't stand up well to anyone that bothers to pull them apart.

The fact that "peer review" in APA parlance means that Dr Kopp has looked at Goon's work and Goon has looked at Dr Kopp's work should be enough of a hint about these guys, but apparently not for some...


The overall strategic analysis is great, but let me add to this:

#1 - The PK of Russian missiles are awesome in their scenario. Yet, there is plenty of evidence that shows that Russian reliability is significantly lower than western weapons. Its most evident with India's problems with their missiles, continuing Russian development problems on new systems, combat reports from various conflicts, and various other information which agrees with this context. Basically these missiles are pinging F-35's out of the skies, when there is a possibility 20% wouldn't even get off of the launch rails... not to speak of its actual accuracy in flight.

#2 Somehow the SU are all easily detecting F-35s as if their stealth is completely defective. IRBIS is good, but its not that good, especially against a 5th gen stealth. Evidence from the MMRCA in india illustrates how the claims made about the Russian radars by their sellers are not borne out in reality. Yet APA takes them at face value and even goes as far as saying they are more effective than claimed.

#3 Furthermore all of the F-35s are all going EMCON Active. The whole point of spending X billion on the F-35's avionics/networking package is so they wouldn't do that. F-35s will likely operate in a far more loose formation with only a few aircraft using active sensors, which feeds all the other aircraft's situational awareness. A few lookers and a ton of shooters. This dispersed system would be far more effective than the "blob" formation that the simulated F-35 blaring their radars were using in the scenario.

#3 As an extension, Where is the Wedgtail? Where is the Growlers? These are critical parts of the Australian/Western military capabilities/doctrine. These are key force multipliers, yet they are completely absent from this simulation.

#4 THIS IS COMPLETE SPECULATION: Given everything we know about APA's MO, I can only wonder what sort of performance figures they gave the F-35 for maneuverability.
Last edited by hb_pencil on 01 Mar 2012, 07:48, edited 1 time in total.
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spazsinbad

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Unread post01 Mar 2012, 07:44

This screed has been posted already on this forum (easy enough to find and I will) but worth posting again here in support of 'hb-pencil' comments about 'loose formation of active/passive networked dispersed system of F-35s' (apologies if this is not 100% accurate summation of point #3). 1 year ago now:
F-35 Lightning II Documentary (Criticisms)
http://www.f-16.net/index.php?name=PNph ... ion#188091
(scroll down)

THE WILLIAMS FOUNDATION:www.williamsfoundation.org.au
FACT versus FICTION:
http://www.williamsfoundation.org.au/re ... 24Mar1.pdf
Fiction
The superficially impressive manoeuvrability and power-to-weight ratio of Soviet-designed aircraft such as the Su-30 and MiG-29 confers a potentially decisive advantage over Western fighters during within visual range (WVR) combat.

FACT
It has been incorrect for some 20 years to equate WVR potential with platform agility alone. Since the 1991 Gulf War, manoeuvring to achieve a kill has been done by air-to-air missiles, not by platforms. No manned fighter aircraft can compete with missiles that attack at over twice the speed of sound and manoeuvre at 60 ‘g’. (A manned fighter involved in WVR combat typically flies at less than half that speed and manoeuvres at a maximum of 9 ‘g’.) No less important than the missile is situational awareness. The classic case study here comes from 1993 and concerns the (British) RAF’s Tornado F-3 air defence fighter.

By the standards of the late-20th century the F-3 was a mediocre performer, handicapped by its modest agility and poor acceleration. Despite the high quality of RAF pilots, the F-3 regularly sustained a loss rate of around 3:1 in exercises against the West’s best fighter of that era, the USAF’s F-15. The turnaround came during an exercise at Mountain Home Air Force Base in the United States when, for the first time, the F-3s were fitted with Link 16 data links. The shift was dramatic. Overnight, the F-3 became an F-15 killer, reversing the loss ratio to 3:1 in its favour. Situational awareness, not manoeuvrability, was the key. In short, for WVR combat, platform agility is a secondary consideration. It is the system, and in particular situational awareness and the missile, that count.”
RAN FAA A4G: http://tinyurl.com/ctfwb3t http://tinyurl.com/ccmlenr http://www.youtube.com/user/bengello/videos
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sewerrat

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Unread post01 Mar 2012, 16:41

spazsinbad wrote: In short, for WVR combat, platform agility is a secondary consideration. It is the system, and in particular situational awareness and the missile, that count.”


...and LO, particularily IR supression. If the other guy has a more difficult time getting a lock-on than you do, you hsvae the advantage. But the -35 doesn't seem to have any IR supression of the exhaust can. Seems to be a rather conventional looking design. Why pay so much attention to RF low oberservability, and overlook IR supression? I never understood why they didn't do something to hide the exhaust heat like was done 20 years ago with the YF-23. In WVR, other than SA of the driver, it seems to be at parity with legacy fighters in terms of IR detectability. Can anyone say I'm incorrect in my thoughts? Especially given the reports of how hot the engine runs: i.e. carrier deck suitability "issues" due to exhaust heat. If correct, then the -35 is going to be vunerable to those mobile IR sams proliferated by the Russians.
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Unread post01 Mar 2012, 18:40

sewerrat wrote:
spazsinbad wrote: In short, for WVR combat, platform agility is a secondary consideration. It is the system, and in particular situational awareness and the missile, that count.”


...and LO, particularily IR supression. If the other guy has a more difficult time getting a lock-on than you do, you hsvae the advantage. But the -35 doesn't seem to have any IR supression of the exhaust can. Seems to be a rather conventional looking design. Why pay so much attention to RF low oberservability, and overlook IR supression? I never understood why they didn't do something to hide the exhaust heat like was done 20 years ago with the YF-23. In WVR, other than SA of the driver, it seems to be at parity with legacy fighters in terms of IR detectability. Can anyone say I'm incorrect in my thoughts? Especially given the reports of how hot the engine runs: i.e. carrier deck suitability "issues" due to exhaust heat. If correct, then the -35 is going to be vunerable to those mobile IR sams proliferated by the Russians.

Please allow me to correct your misconception regarding the F-35's exhaust. http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article20.html
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wrightwing

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Unread post01 Mar 2012, 23:21

VigilanteAgumon wrote: Please allow me to correct your misconception regarding the F-35's exhaust. http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article20.html


And in addition to the LOAN nozzle, it's important to note the location of the nozzle(obscured by the verticle stabilizers, and rear elevators), also helps reduce IR visibility.
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Unread post03 Mar 2012, 10:21

wrightwing wrote:
VigilanteAgumon wrote: Please allow me to correct your misconception regarding the F-35's exhaust. http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article20.html


And in addition to the LOAN nozzle, it's important to note the location of the nozzle(obscured by the verticle stabilizers, and rear elevators), also helps reduce IR visibility.


And possibly how far the nozzle is from the actual engine. I think it's more deeply recessed than on even the YF-23.
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Unread post04 Mar 2012, 00:16

APA is great reading, I just got back from their site. Guy is in love with the Flanker, all things Russian/Chinese and of course, the F-111. Likely wakes up in a cold sweat at night thinking someone's going to lock him inside the cockpit of a Super Hornet (or worse, an F-35). I've said this before but I'll say it again: We need Boeing to send him a press kit on the forthcoming Super-Duper Hornet. Picture of it in RAAF colors would be a nice touch.

Here's the Super-Duper Hornet value proposition, just for APA: "You can buy better, but you'll never pay more... "
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Unread post06 Mar 2012, 18:56

Conan
So why do you continue to advocate an F-111 like capability for Australia then?

Simply because it seems to me it would be easier to support 1 longer range 4++ Strike Aircraft with a good payload than 3 F35's at one of our remote northern airfields if a threat did come up. That's the main reason we had the F111's - they could strike ships and our near neighbors if necessary if something unexpected happened. We have not really used our Airforce since WW2. What is the panic - I see no threats. I just try not to be a boy who wants a new toy at any cost.
You wanted my opinion. Thats it. If I controlled Defence I would buy 24 more Super Hornets. That should not be too expensive now we have 24. Not ideal but it is too late now to change to something like the F15SE. Better to just wait until about 2020 and see if all the projections LM and the F35 Mafia are making come true. If they are all true it should be able to take out any SU35 types forever and probably be good enough with some new weapons and a few minor upgrades to at least match the Pak Fa right through to about 2040/50 as projected at concept. We don't need anything else - we have no threats at present. The very reason many of the F35 Mafia put up to buy it - it will be good enough for any threats we have - so will what we have with a few more Super Hornets. I find it interesting on this Forum - anybody who questions the F35 are branded idiots or worse APA "fan-boys" - who don't know the Facts etc. When our Defence Minister puts most of the first order on hold and soon after says we may buy some more Super Hornets he is also an idiot despite the Fact he would be one of the best briefed people in Australia with most of the Facts.
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Unread post07 Mar 2012, 02:14

This story links to the official transcript of the infamous hearing:

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articl ... rgame.html
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rkap

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Unread post07 Mar 2012, 17:24

CONAN
Their numbers are rubbish. Let's look at their latest "simulation" shall we?

Who's numbers are rubbish?
If you want to argue number of aircraft in the Scenario there is one that has no hope of being seen in Practise.
The US Navy having 240 Operational F35's by 2018 in the Pacific Ocean.
At least read the Submission to the Senate Inquiry on the above link and then comment.
APA did not do the simulation you will notice. If you read it you will then know who you are calling an idiot.
There is no way you know more than one of the people in particular.
Just read the thing - I know you will still say "rubbish" but just read it.
Your numbers are Rubbish on China and Aircraft numbers.
CHINA NOW: 220 - J10A & S/B -- 100 - SU30MKK & MK2 --- 140 - JHA & JHB --- 76 - SU27SK & VBK PLUS hundreds of older Aircraft that will be Obsolete by the time the F35 is around in numbers.
Total - 536 Aircraft NOW - PLUS NEW T-10 TYPE AIRCRAFT IN THE PIPELINE.
I know you are going to say the 76 old SU27's are rubbish - maybe? maybe not? - it there hours are low enough they can be upgraded easily or have been - I don't know.
I know you will say the J10 is rubbish - other reports say it should be as good if not better than a Viper.

Other Rubbish you talk: Sukoi can only build 1 SU35 each year.
Sukoi is building 48 - SU35's for the Russian Airforce by 2015. After that they want the PakFa.
Production started last year and they should be at full production this year.
They say they can at the moment build 20-30 per year.
If I remember correctly it only had its first test flight in 2008. Sounds good to me - About 3 Years from test flight to Production with an accident in 2009 while testing one of the prototypes.
"I forgot it will have to be typical Russian rubbish if they had a runway accident in testing." I give up - You win.
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Unread post07 Mar 2012, 18:30

And when exactly did Russia sell the SU-35 to China? Never. And when will said China have 240 combat coded SU-35's by 2018? Never. Why would China buy SU-35's when the J-20 is in development, unless it intends to copy something yet again it cannot develop itself? And who thinks the F-35 will be the only game in town much less the SU-35 in 2018? Nobody. The sim is as absurd as stated. No amount of obscene scenarios will make that happen. There is no production SU-35, J-20, or PAK-FA. It's that simple. Are we to assume it will miracuously change somehow? There are more test F-35's flying right now than all others combined.

If you want to talk numbers, the US Navy alone has more acft available than China. Are you to assume that Australia would not have support from the US if something were to happen? APA lives in a paradigm of self support and extreme "what if's".

Last time I checked by the way, Russia's procurement priority right now is SU-34's, not 35's.
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Conan

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Unread post08 Mar 2012, 03:59

rkap wrote:
Simply because it seems to me it would be easier to support 1 longer range 4++ Strike Aircraft with a good payload than 3 F35's at one of our remote northern airfields if a threat did come up.


RAAF disagrees with that assumption, which is why it is pushing for a sole air combat fighter type in-service in the longer term.

I think you really need to think hard about how capable RAAF really is and what it can support in terms of capability. We all have our wishlists, but the RAAF bases it's capability choices on what it can realistically support, how many personnel it has, the extent of it's infrastructure and how much it can afford to expand that and so on.

The capability gaps it has are enormous and whilst the Chief of Air Force happily calls us the "world's best small air force" the fact is that RAAF is directed by Government and funded to maintain it's capability at relatively low overall levels, just like the rest of ADF.

It is intended to be capable of handling a short duration, low-medium intensity operation by itself and of contributing to larger Coalition operations. Our combat power (although it's not mentioned) is basically intended to match that which 2 of our nearest nations could put into the field (Indonesia and Malaysia) and that's it. Unlike APA, we have no pretensions that we are geared to defend ourselves against a major power, nor do we intend to.

Now RAAF has 2 air combat types in-service today. The Hornet and Super Hornet. With both platforms it is struggling to master the capabilities they provide and at best, with a 4 squadron force, we can put 64 combat coded aircraft onto the flight line on a daily basis (not counting for flightline issues of which there are many). Despite these 2 aircraft being in-service, RAAF still has massive gaps in it's combat capability.

Where is our SEAD capability? Where is our offensive electronic warfare capability? Where is our all-weather air to ground moving target capability? Where is our powered stand-off missile capability for the Super Hornets and so on?

We cannot provide a single refuelling tanker per combat squadron in "combat coded" configuration, yet we should be looking to add to the combat types we currently operate, exacerbating this gap?

Our airforce has no combat search and rescue capability, no ground based air defence capability, limited ability to deploy and support our capability at long distances and limited weapons inventories.

We can support (not fund, something different) the addition of C-17 Globemaster III's and C-27J (assuming it's chosen) only by drawing down our C-130H fleet, cancelling the Caribou fleet (before it is replaced) and cancelling the acquisition of new-build C-130J's that were planned.

The Royal Australian Air Force constantly has to "rob Peter to pay Paul" that is a fact of life. Any additional capability beyond what is funded has to come at the expense of something else, yet Government demands a reasonably well balanced ADF to ensure it has it's "options" available to it, whenever it wants to go on an adventure somewhere.

That means in reality that no matter how important you think a fighter capability is, that fighter capability is never going to get a huge increase in resources, when airlift, maritime patrol etc, Army and navy elements don't get the same level of increased resources.

When you start to see the conditions the ADF has to work within for the constraints they truly are, you should begin to see why RAAF has chosen the option for it's future air combat capability it has and why extra capability, though a worthy idea in of themselves simply aren't supportable, by us given the likely funding and overall manpower limitations that will remain for ADF.

The F-35 will give us a longer ranging strike capability than we currently possess. It will give us a reasonably stealthy striker and an air combat aircraft that improves on our current capability and with the savings (not only financial) that a sole fighter type brings, will allow us to address some of the capability gaps we have, specifically the all-weather air to ground capability and maybe the powered standoff capability, if JASSM is integrated onto the RAAF's F-35s at some point and maybe some of the deployability issues (though F-35 brings it's own problems there in terms of security).


That's the main reason we had the F111's - they could strike ships and our near neighbors if necessary if something unexpected happened. We have not really used our Airforce since WW2. What is the panic - I see no threats. I just try not to be a boy who wants a new toy at any cost.


Hornets and Super Hornets can do the same thing. F-35 will be able to do the same thing only better and with better weapons, that are unlikely to be available for the Hornet and perhaps the Super Hornets.

You wanted my opinion. Thats it. If I controlled Defence I would buy 24 more Super Hornets. That should not be too expensive now we have 24. Not ideal but it is too late now to change to something like the F15SE. Better to just wait until about 2020 and see if all the projections LM and the F35 Mafia are making come true. If they are all true it should be able to take out any SU35 types forever and probably be good enough with some new weapons and a few minor upgrades to at least match the Pak Fa right through to about 2040/50 as projected at concept. We don't need anything else - we have no threats at present. The very reason many of the F35 Mafia put up to buy it - it will be good enough for any threats we have - so will what we have with a few more Super Hornets. I find it interesting on this Forum - anybody who questions the F35 are branded idiots or worse APA "fan-boys" - who don't know the Facts etc. When our Defence Minister puts most of the first order on hold and soon after says we may buy some more Super Hornets he is also an idiot despite the Fact he would be one of the best briefed people in Australia with most of the Facts.


So you'd just wait until the Hornet fleet has to be grounded before making any decisions? You'd attempt to defend Australia with 28-30 combat coded aircraft would you? That's what 48 Super Hornets and no legacy Hornet fleet would provide you.

You'd put RAAF in the position where it will have to continue it's current way of doing things where the operational squadrons operating the bare minimum of fighter numbers, also have to provide all the flight training for it's pilots and air combat officers AND they have to allow for the maintenance and servicing of their own aircraft AND they have to send their own aircraft to AOSG for continual development activities (software - OFT updates, EW, weapons, avionics updates etc) because the "all-knowing, all-briefed" Minister never bought enough aircraft to not only satisfy our fighter needs, but our training and development needs as well?

Since introducing Super Hornet and all it's related capability 2009, RAAF has now gone on to acquire AIM-9X Block II, AIM-120C7 and AGM-154 C1. 3 new weapons with new capability that have never before been in our inventory and all the work RAAF had done previously on AGM-154C, AIM-9X Block I and AIM-120C5 whilst useful, has to be done all over again for the new weapons.

Same with the systems. APG-79 is still developing it's electronic attack capability and the ALE-55 "turd" is still developing it's capability. Again these are new capabilities for ADF that require significant testing and development to maximise their potential, testing that has to be conducted outside the operational squadrons and which impacts on the capability that RAAF can provide and the airframes it has available for tasking.

Before RAAF is likely to achieve FOC with these types and have exercised these capabilities sufficiently to achieve professional mastery across the force, a new beyond visual range air to air missile is programmed. New air to ground weapons (Laser JDAM and Small Diameter Bomb maybe) are programmed and a new anti-ship missile system is intended to be procured and perhaps integrated on the Super Hornet but not on the wider fighter fleet in-service at that time, depending on what our all-knowing, all-briefed Minister decides to do and we start all over again.

That fully briefed Minister you mentioned is the one that forced RAAF into this situation (albeit his predecessor) and due to these requirements, you see RAAF in the same situation it was with F-111, but with the added exception that RAAF now has to train it's 1 Squadron pilots in ACM and air to air combat as well, increasing the training burden.

There is a reason why RAAF can deploy 6-7 Super Hornets to an exercise and why 10-12 aircraft are available at best for day to day taskings.

That's what 2 fighter types affords a small air force and why RAAF has recommended for so long, that it should operate a single type.

With that single type it has a chance to actually maximise the capability it can get from it's fighter capability for the first time. It won't be relying on the operational type for initial training (because that operational type will be flown by our Operational Conversion Unit - 2 OCU) for the first time (F-111 and Super Hornet never were) and it will have spare airframes for a maintenance pool and development activities. When new weapons or systems have to be integrated and developed, it can absorb that into the force without compromising it's day to day capability. With a small specialised or at least separate force of aircraft, it can't absorb that without massively effecting it's capability.

RAAF's insistence on JSF has nothing to do with being sucked in by L-M power-points or Groupthink as some would have us believe, but rather a rational, logical understanding of it's own current and likely future limitations as a fighter force.

It happens to have chosen JSF, but RAAF would have had the same attitude whether it was Super Hornet or F-15SE that was chosen for our future capability.
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