Australian lawmakers confident in F-35's future

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Dragon029

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Unread post05 Jul 2017, 12:30

https://www.defenceconnect.com.au/strik ... e-unveiled

Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne has unveiled the first of the Royal Australian Air Force’s F-35A Joint Strike Fighter facilities at RAAF Base Williamtown.

The Off Board Information Systems Centre (OBISC), which has been dubbed the "nerve centre" for the aircraft, represents $16 million of the $770 million of works currently under way at the base.

The OBISC project provided 350 local jobs during construction.

"The centre is an Australian unique capability that hosts ground-based, off board, F-35A autonomic logistics information system (ALIS)," Minister Pyne said.

"The ALIS is the logistical nerve centre for the Joint Strike Fighter. It is used to support mission planning, manage air and ground crew training, manage day-to-day maintenance activities and to provide logistical support to the aircraft and associated systems."

ALIS, software developed by Lockheed Martin, will provide the information system hardware, software and data that performs maintenance management, fault diagnostics, supply support, mission planning and training management across the F-35A weapon system.

Minister Pyne said the investment at Williamtown has significantly contributed to the local area and economy.

"The overall investment in Williamtown is providing significant returns to the local community, with more than $215 million of contracts going to local businesses to date," he said.

"It demonstrates what happens when the government invests in high-end military equipment. It requires upgrading bases and material across the country, which then flows into investment in jobs in local industry."

More of the works currently underway at the base are on track for completion by mid-2021.

The facilities to be provided at Williamtown also include:

runway extensions;
base electrical, sewage, fire and storm-water management infrastructure; and
F-35A squadron headquarters, training and maintenance facilities.

The New Air Combat Capability project at Williamtown was approved by the government in April 2014 and is part of a $1.48 billion capability project undertaken by Defence across RAAF bases Williamtown and Tindal as well as forward operating bases.

Construction started in November 2014, with all works required to support the arrival of the first F-35A in 2018 on track for completion.


During the same visit Pyne also announced an update to the Wedgetail that's related to F-35 interoperability:

http://www.portstephensexaminer.com.au/ ... f-project/

“The first major upgrade that has been announced today provides critical ‘inter-operable’ capabilities with the allies on operations and with fifth generation aircraft including the JSF.”


There's a 29 minute long Facebook video linked on that article that has Pyne's announcement(s) and some Q&A as well.

I wonder if it's just stuff like Link 16 and (preparatory) SATCOM upgrades, or whether they can perhaps get MADL onto the jet (they've done a number of upgrades on the Wedgetail already, so if this is to be the "first major upgrade" I could see it incorporating hardware modifications to support MADL (incorporate some BACN tech), especially if the F-35 is meant to make up 75-100% of the RAAF's near-future fighter fleet.
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Unread post05 Jul 2017, 15:46

I vaguely remember reading somewhere that the upcoming upgrades to the E-7 (at the time they were being planned) would focus on ESM, IFF and Plan Jericho specific changes.
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Unread post05 Jul 2017, 15:57

Dragon029 wrote:I wonder if it's just stuff like Link 16 and (preparatory) SATCOM upgrades, or whether they can perhaps get MADL onto the jet


Since it's an AWACS jet, I would think that Link-16 is already in it.

Communication systems including HF, VHF, UHF, Link-11, Link-16, UHF SATCOM and ICS


It's got DIRCM too

Electronic warfare self-protection measures including directed infra-red counter-measures, chaff and flares


http://www.defencejobs.gov.au/airforce/ ... etail.aspx

MADL makes the most sense.
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Unread post05 Jul 2017, 16:16

Canberra to upgrade E-7A mission systems
05 Jul 2017 Greg Waldron

"Australia's Boeing E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning & control (AEW&C) fleet is to receive a mission systems upgrade.

The upgrade comprises "new and more advanced combat identification sensors, tactical data links, and communication and encryption systems", says Australia's defence ministry in a statement.

The value of the contract is A$583 million, with the work to be completed by mid-2022. The work will mainly be conducted at two Australian air bases: RAAF Amberley and RAAF Williamtown...."

Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ms-439029/
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Unread post05 Jul 2017, 18:42

spazsinbad wrote:
Canberra to upgrade E-7A mission systems."Australia's Boeing E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning & control (AEW&C) fleet is to receive a mission systems upgrade. The upgrade comprises "new and more advanced combat identification sensors, tactical data links, and communication and encryption systems", says Australia's defence ministry in a statement...]


..... It has state-of-the-art flight deck, avionics and navigation equipment. An extensive communications suite is also included, which has three HF, eight VHF/UHF communications systems together with Link 4A and Link 11 systems.

The Aussie C-130Js have completed adding link 16/ 5 stations per a/c, as well as their frigates, F-18s, MH-60s, P-8As, P-3Cs and last but not least F-35s.
:)
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Unread post05 Jul 2017, 20:59

Courtesy JDW -

Boeing Defence Australia (BDA) has won a AUD582-million (USD443 million) contract to upgrade the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced on 5 July.

A statement said the upgrade – under AIR 5077 Phase 5A – will be completed by mid-2022, and that up to 40% of the value of the deal will flow to Australian industry. BDA said the upgrade will feature new combat identification sensors, tactical data links, communications hardware and encryption systems, and mission-computing hardware and software upgrades.

BDA added that it will perform upgrades on the aircraft through three releases over six years, with support from Boeing's Airborne Surveillance Command and Control team in the US and a network of suppliers. The company added that it expects to deliver the first release of upgrades to all six aircraft in early 2018.

Two aircraft will receive the full suite of 'release one' upgrades by early 2019, which include target identification, mission computing, and larger visual monitor displays. The remaining fleet will receive integrated communications upgrades, data link upgrades, a new wide-band satellite system, and dual-display upgrades by 2022, said BDA.

Announcing the contract, Australia's Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said, "The upgrades are an important step in maintaining a potent Australia air combat force, and will ensure continued interoperability with Australian allies including the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members."

The RAAF operates six Wedgetail aircraft. The platform, which is based on the Boeing 737 airliner, achieved initial operational capability with the RAAF in November 2012.
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Unread post06 Jul 2017, 04:41

Reminds me of KLF [aka The JAM] "back to the heavyweight jam" COR time flies eh that is from 1991 "over and out".
Australia steps up to jam
05 Jul 2017 PEO(T) Public Affairs

"NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) intent to collaborate on the development of the AN/ALQ-249 Next Generation Jammer Mid-band (Increment 1) (NGJ-MB) program is on track to become a reality with the assistance of the Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) Systems and EA-6B Program Office (PMA-234) and the Navy International Programs Office (Navy IPO).

The allies joined mid-June for a Cooperative Partnership week, during which the RAAF had an opportunity to gain insight into the current status of the NGJ-MB program, in anticipation of formally entering a cooperative project later this year.

PMA-234 and Navy IPO representatives, in concert with the Australian Department of Defence, are negotiating an agreement that will solidify both governments’ intent to establish the joint program office and mature the electronic warfare capability together.

“We are extremely excited about this international partnership,” said James Smith, PMA-234 principal deputy program manager. “NGJ-MB will allow more cooperation and interoperability throughout our joint peace-keeping missions as we protect our mutual interests from current threats and emerging adversaries.”

Graphic: "Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) on EA-18G GROWLER (Photo-illustration courtesy of Raytheon Co.)" http://www.navair.navy.mil/img/uploads/ ... erNGJ2.jpg (1.5Mb)

Source: http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... ry&id=6582

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EA18GrowlerNGJ2pdf.jpg
Last edited by spazsinbad on 06 Jul 2017, 05:25, edited 7 times in total.
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Unread post06 Jul 2017, 04:44

SpudmanWP wrote:
Dragon029 wrote:I wonder if it's just stuff like Link 16 and (preparatory) SATCOM upgrades, or whether they can perhaps get MADL onto the jet


Since it's an AWACS jet, I would think that Link-16 is already in it.

I'm aware that it already has Link 16, I was just talking about an upgrade akin to those coming to the F-35, where it already has Link 16, but not 100% of its functionality. I was just wondering out loud whether it'd be something [relatively] boring like that (or other similar things like cabin display upgrades), or whether this would bring considerable new capabilities. From bring_it_on's quote, it sounds like it'll be a mixture of both - the way they've worded / separated the terms here however:
integrated communications upgrades, data link upgrades, a new wide-band satellite system

still leaves me uncertain; integrated comms upgrades implies to me more back-end upgrades, data link upgrades sounds to me like upgrades to existing data links, while the specific mention of a new wide-band satcom system makes me think that it'll be the only addition / modification of antennas. Maybe the Wedgetail already has Ku-band antennas that will be able to receive MADL waveforms with one of those other mentioned upgrades, but AFAIK all of its comms are down around the UHF band and I wouldn't have expected its ESM systems to detect above X-band.

Still, I'll wait and see what we get and either way the Wedgetail's a great platform for getting the required upgrades in the near future.
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Unread post07 Jul 2017, 12:10

What an amaze article about Oz EW! http://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia ... ar-BBDWNVO

Australia Set To Become One Of The World's Top Aerial Electronic Warfare Powers 07 Jul 2017 Tyler RogerAway!
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Unread post06 Aug 2017, 09:22

OLD NEWS for the RAAFie CHAPpies but READ it an WEEP CanaDUH!
Future F-35 production numbers released
19 May 2017 Ian Keddie in Toronto

"A new document released by the US Department of the Navy reveals further specifics of future Lockheed Martin F-35 multirole fighter aircraft production lots and confirms the timing of international deliveries.... [OTHER LRIP details]

...The LRIP 12 to 14 Justification and Approval (J&A) notice reveals that LRIP 12 will number at least 147 airframes whilst further long lead items for LRIPs 13 and 14 account for an additional minimum of 156 and 154 airframes respectively.
In addition, the document lists the number of aircraft allocated to each customer per LRIP lot and, whilst almost half the total number are for US DoD customers (USAF, USN, and USMC), at least 77 aircraft from LRIP 12 are for foreign customers.
 
By far the largest customer for LRIPs 12, 13, and 14 outside of the US will be the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), which is set to receive 45 aircraft across the three lots. The final 15 aircraft will be delivered under Lot 14 between January and December 2022. The RAAF’s expedited acquisition of the F-35A will see it become the first entirely fifth generation air force by 2025, according to a recent speech by Chief of the Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he stated that the RAAF will ‘have no legacy aircraft after 2025’ under current procurement plans.

The J&A document also shows significant numbers for the Turkish Air Force, acquiring 24 across the three lots; the Netherlands will also receive 24; whilst Norway will get 18; and Denmark will receive 14 in total. Most notably, however, are the redacted portions of document which invite consideration on the likely destination of these aircraft.

Across lots 12 to 14 there are three redacted customers who will receive 24, 18, and 12 airframes respectively. It is likely that these aircraft are bound for South Korea, Japan, and Israel. Finally, one customer is redacted entirely with no numbers or variants listed but countries such as Belgium or Canada are possibilities as they are both in various stages of planning future combat aircraft procurements but have not yet selected the F-35.



Source: https://www.shephardmedia.com/news/defe ... -released/
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Unread post06 Aug 2017, 20:07

The Australian quote about being entirely fifth generation seems to ignore recent Growler purchases. Even if the RAAF plans to divest the 24 Super Hornets, I doubt they would divest the 12 Growlers as buying F-35s does not give a high end electronic attack capability.
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Unread post06 Aug 2017, 20:17

Somewhere in this thread IIRC the RAAF have classified the GROWLER as a support aircraft. Yes it is a bit up in the air about what happens to the RAAF Shornets - perhaps the Air Marshal is giving a clue?
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Unread post06 Aug 2017, 22:59

talkitron wrote:The Australian quote about being entirely fifth generation seems to ignore recent Growler purchases. Even if the RAAF plans to divest the 24 Super Hornets, I doubt they would divest the 12 Growlers as buying F-35s does not give a high end electronic attack capability.


The RAAF's view on 5th gen isn't just based on F-22 / F-35 stealth, sensor fusion, etc; the RAAF views being 5th gen as having a force based around information dominance, situational awareness, interconnectivity, etc. That incorporates the F-35s, our Wedgetails, P-8s, MQ-4Cs, Growlers, even our C-17s, etc which were recently fitted with satcom video downlinks, allowing paratroopers or natural disaster responders to get news updates in the air.

Naturally only one of the above mentioned platforms is a 5th gen fighter, but as spaz said the Growler (and I'd argue even the Super Hornet in 6 years) is classified as a support aircraft; its job will be to deny the enemy our level of SA. Super Hornets (if we retain them) will probably become bomb trucks / missileers for any long-range weaponry that won't fit in an F-35A's weapons bay (JASSM-ER, etc).
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Unread post06 Aug 2017, 23:08

A quick quote about what the RAAF expect the Growler to do:
Growlers roar into Avalon for debut
28 Feb 2017 Patrick Durrant

"...“As this is a rapidly evolving area we will work in partnership with the United States Navy to develop the next generation jamming capability, which will ensure that these aircraft remain at the technological forefront throughout their service life.” Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Leo Davies, said the Growler was a vital part of Air Force’s evolution to a future fifth-generation Air Force.

It's our job to show what this aircraft can do, not just for the Royal Australian Air Force, but also for the Army, the Navy and the ADF and that's going to be a really exciting journey. AIRMSHL Davies listed the wide array of ADF platforms the Growler would have to work with, including the Navy's new air warfare destroyers and also the ARH Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters in service with Army.

“I expect this aircraft to spend more time flying with the Army and the Navy than it actually does with the Air Force.”..."

Source: http://www.australiandefence.com.au/new ... -for-debut
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Unread post07 Aug 2017, 05:43

It would seen a waste to dispose of practically new first class modern jets. 24 F/A18F's are a force more powerful then a lot of the worlds air forces. With 72 F-35A, 12 F/A18G, and 24 F/A18F Australia will certainly be among the top ten air forces in the world. Where would members of the board rate Australia on a list of top air forces?

Such a list would be subjective, and effected by not easily quantifiable factors such as EW tech, stealth, training, logistical support, and leadership. Off the top of my head I would list USA, followed by Russia, China, UK, France, Israel, Japan, ROK, Germany, Australia. What kind of list would you guys come up with?
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