Australia delays delivery of 12 F-35 fighters

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Conan

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Unread post12 Dec 2012, 15:00

Word on the street is, RAAF are about to be directed by Government to purchase another 24 Super Hornets and the F-35 buy will be reduced and pushed back... A squadron's worth of the oldest and highest FLEI legacy Hornets will also be retired to allow RAAF to man the additional Super Hornet capability.

Along with a 4th Air Warfare Destroyer these will be the major "new" combat capability measures for next years White Paper...
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m

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Unread post12 Dec 2012, 16:14

Conan wrote:Word on the street is, RAAF are about to be directed by Government to purchase another 24 Super Hornets and the F-35 buy will be reduced and pushed back... A squadron's worth of the oldest and highest FLEI legacy Hornets will also be retired to allow RAAF to man the additional Super Hornet capability.

Along with a 4th Air Warfare Destroyer these will be the major "new" combat capability measures for next years White Paper...


Versus: But Smith also had bad news for Boeing. "My current advice is that the life of type of our 71 classic Hornets and our 24 Super Hornets is sufficient for our air combat capability”
http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx? ... 466a891917
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Unread post12 Dec 2012, 17:09

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/nationa ... 6535732600

THE Gillard government will consider buying up to 24 new F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter-bombers in a decision that would sharply reduce reliance on the troubled Joint Strike Fighter.


The JSF program, the largest US defence project of its kind, has been plagued by cost overruns and delays, ramping up the cost of the planes well above initial Australian estimates.

And now there is growing concern in the RAAF that the US delays will mean its first squadron may not be ready until at least 2020. Alarm bells are ringing because it's likely that by then the last 30 or so of the older, classic Hornets will have reached the end of their useful lives.
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spazsinbad

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Unread post12 Dec 2012, 17:54

For those who worry about price of Super Hornet for Canada - here is the news - Oz dollar buys 1.05 US dorrar lately...

Super Hornets considered amid fears about JSF 13 Dec 2012 by: Cameron Stewart and Brendan Nicholson

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/nationa ... 6535732600

"THE Gillard government will consider buying up to 24 new F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter-bombers in a decision that would sharply reduce reliance on the troubled Joint Strike Fighter.

The possible Super Hornet purchase, expected to cost well over $100 million each, is part of a range of multi-billion-dollar air-power options due to be revealed today by Defence Minister Stephen Smith...."

Subscription required for the rest and I ain't subscribing.
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gtx

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Unread post12 Dec 2012, 18:09

If they do this it will be against the advice of the RAAF. From what I understand, this (option to buy more Super Hornets) is just one of the options put to govt. it is not the option recommended or favoured.

If the Govt were to take it up it would be yet another penny pinching action by this govt that is desperate to balance its budget and thus try to portray themselves as good economic managers at the next election. T would have nothing to do wiih the JSF program and would most certainly not be because they want to do what's best for the ADF or Australia's industry. :evil:
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Unread post12 Dec 2012, 18:28

'The Australian' newspaper has some issues with the Labor Government, similar perhaps to some newspapers in Canada, always willing to make trouble, to make something out of nothing. The possibility of Oz buying more Supers (an option for guvmnt) will hang around until the Government makes a decision. Apparently there is currently a possibility according to 'Conan' but I'm not 'on the street' to know anything until the government announces a decision - if any. It is in the guvmnt interest to NOT make a decision until the last second, increasing the B/S factor on all sides. I think the Labor guvmnt are used to this by now. Agree that the RAAF have stated many times in public that they prefer to have an all F-35 fleet and acknowledge now that the Growler additions will be useful over the longer term (rather than Supers).
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Unread post12 Dec 2012, 22:10

As commented in the other thread, current scuttlebutt seems to confirm movement around somebody buying additional Super Hornets. One possibility is that the RAAF might buy factor built EA-18s from Boeing, saving $10-20m in upgrade costs. Another possibility is that the RAAF will buy a Block III jet with improved capabilities, and less expensive upgrade to full Growler capability. A Block III jet could be delivered in 2-3 years to the RAAF.
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Unread post13 Dec 2012, 04:23

Canada delays troubled F-35 joint strike fighter project Yes I know but this first part is about OZ

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-13/c ... er/4426088

"EMILY BOURKE: The Australian Defence Minister is giving more hints that there could be further delays to the controversial F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Jet project.

Stephen Smith has directed Defence to seek detailed information on acquiring 24 Super Hornets. [I'll assume that direction was recently?]

He's restated the government's pledge that the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) will not suffer a capability gap...."

The rest is about Canada and such with quotable quotes from various varieties of variables including WINDslowWheelUS. :-)
Last edited by spazsinbad on 13 Dec 2012, 08:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post13 Dec 2012, 06:15

Australia seeks pricing info on extra Super Hornets Item by australianaviation.com.au 13 Dec 2012

http://australianaviation.com.au/2012/1 ... r-hornets/

"Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare have announced that Australia has sent a letter of request (LOR) to the US government for the possible purchase of 24 more Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets for the RAAF.

The announcement coincided with a declaration of final operational capability (FOC) for the RAAF’s extent Super Hornet fleet based at Amberley with 1SQN and 6SQN.

A comprehensive Cabinet Submission detailing multiple air combat capability options was reportedly handed to government in September, but was only presented to the National Security Committee (NSC) – comprising the Prime Minister, Defence Minister, Treasurer, Foreign Minister and others as required – in early December.

The options laid out in the cabinet submission included staying with the currently planned AIR 6000 Phase 2A/2B plan to buy up to 72 F-35As from 2014 and declare an initial operating capability (IOC) in 2020, or buying additional Super Hornets to mitigate the risk of a capability gap should the current ‘classic’ Hornets not be able to reach their revised life of type (LOT) in 2022. Despite RAAF and ANAO investigations which show the classic Hornets should be able to fulfil their revised LOT, this would require substantial investment in fatigue management in the near to medium term, and reduced flying hours and combat effectiveness in the out years.

A December 13 ministerial release points out that the LOR does not automatically mean a follow up order will be forthcoming. “The sending of this LOR does not commit Australia to purchase more Super Hornets. It is being sent so that the Government can further consider all options in 2013 with the latest and best cost and availability information. This has been made clear to both US officials and to the Defence industry.”"

NOTHING more to see guvnor.
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spazsinbad

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Unread post13 Dec 2012, 06:27

The full deal from the horse's mouth:

Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Materiel – Joint Media Release – Australia’s future Air Combat Capability
13 December 2012

http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/2012 ... apability/

Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today provided an update on planning for Australia’s future Air Combat Capability.

“Australia’s Air Combat Capability is a vital part of our national security framework. The Government will not allow a gap in our Air Combat Capability to occur,” Mr Smith said.

In May this year, Minister Smith announced that the Air Combat Capability Transition Plan, an assessment of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter project progress and any potential capability gap, would be presented to Government by the end of 2012 to inform Government decisions about Air Combat Capability.

The Air Combat Capability Transition Plan prepared by Defence includes an assessment of whether alternative options need to be implemented to ensure continuity in Australia’s Air Combat Capability in light of Joint Strike Fighter project delays and the ageing of Australia’s Classic F/A-18 Hornet fleet.

The Air Combat Capability Transition Plan considered the process for managing the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) transition from the current mix of Classic Hornet and Super Hornet to a future Air Combat Capability fleet, including the Joint Strike Fighter.

The plan includes an assessment of progress of the Joint Strike Fighter project, the life of the existing 71 ‘Classic’ F/A-18 Hornets, any potential capability gap and management of the Super Hornet and Growler capabilities.

It includes options to purchase additional Super Hornet aircraft.

The Classic Hornet fleet, which originally comprised 75 aircraft, entered service in Australia between 1985 and 1990. The fleet has undergone an intensive maintenance program to ensure the fleet is able to operate until around 2020.

In September this year, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) completed a performance audit on the management of the F/A-18 fleet upgrades and sustainment. The ANAO found that Defence’s management of the aircraft has been effective thus far in identifying the risks to their continued operation, that effective mitigation measures have been put in place for these risks, and outlined those that will require ongoing close management by Defence.

The Government has now considered the Air Combat Capability Transition Plan and has directed Defence to undertake further work on a range of Air Combat Capability options, including seeking from the United States up-to-date pricing information on Super Hornets.

RAAF currently has a fleet of 24 F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft. The fleet was introduced between March 2010 and October 2011.

The F/A-18F Super Hornet was a major step forward in technology for Australia’s Air Combat Capability.

The Super Hornet gives the RAAF the capability to conduct air-to-air combat, to strike targets on land and at sea, to suppress enemy air defences and to conduct reconnaissance.

The Super Hornet is vital to ensuring Australia’s regional Air Combat Capability edge is maintained until the introduction into service of the Joint Strike Fighter capability.

The Government is also acquiring the Growler electronic warfare system for the Super Hornet.

Growler is an electronic warfare system that gives the Super Hornet the ability to jam the electronics systems of aircraft and land-based radars and communications systems.

Australia will now send a Letter of Request (LOR) to the United States seeking cost and availability information for up to an additional 24 Super Hornet aircraft through the United States Foreign Military Sales program.

The Australian Government has not made a decision to purchase more Super Hornets. The sending of this LOR does not commit Australia to purchase more Super Hornets. It is being sent so that the Australian Government can further consider all options in 2013 with the latest and best cost and availability information. This has been made clear to both US officials and to the Defence industry.

Following receipt of the LOR response, Government will further and fully consider Australia’s Air Combat Capability in 2013."
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gtx

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Unread post13 Dec 2012, 07:29

That is what has been confirmed internally as well. Basically they're simply asking for a firm price on more SHs. Mind you, this Govt (the party of which I used to belong to) and especially the Defence Minister could learn a lesson or two about really supporting the ADV and Australian Industry!
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Unread post13 Dec 2012, 08:31

spazsinbad wrote:The rest is about Canada and such with quotable quotes from various varieties of variables including WINDslowWheelUS. :-)

I still think the F-35 is the fighter to buy, but another F/A-18F order is still justified.

Wheeler is an idiot if he thinks 25% through operational utility evaluation is a huge problem. All that means is that the training and operating procedures is still being evaluated. Almost all of the major issues have been identified by now, and being fixed as needed.
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Unread post13 Dec 2012, 17:26

neurotech wrote:As commented in the other thread, current scuttlebutt seems to confirm movement around somebody buying additional Super Hornets. One possibility is that the RAAF might buy factor built EA-18s from Boeing, saving $10-20m in upgrade costs. Another possibility is that the RAAF will buy a Block III jet with improved capabilities, and less expensive upgrade to full Growler capability. A Block III jet could be delivered in 2-3 years to the RAAF.


Australia buying Block III Super Hornets would fantastic for the USN, especially if the Brazilians opt for the Supers as well. With other buyers sharing the cost of the Block III / IR version upgrades, it makes a strong case for the Navy to continue buying Super Hornets, and not wasting money SLEPing older legacy Hornets. And if the Canadians go with the Super Hornet, it gets even better.

When FRP of F-35s kicks in in 2019, the Navy can better evaluate just how many F-35Cs it can afford - or should it accelerate the development of the longer ranged NGAD aircraft needed for Pacific ops.
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gtx

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Unread post13 Dec 2012, 20:44

And pigs may fly...
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Unread post13 Dec 2012, 21:16

gtx wrote:And pigs may fly...
Did you mean Bill Sweetman?
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