Australia delays delivery of 12 F-35 fighters

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spazsinbad

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Unread post03 May 2012, 05:32

Australia delays delivery of 12 F-35 fighters By AP News May 02, 2012

http://www.krla870.com/article.aspx?id= ... be&catid=0

"Australia announced on Thursday that to cut costs it is pushing back delivery of most of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters it plans to buy from the United States.

Defense Minister Stephen Smith said delaying delivery of the advanced warplanes two years, to 2019, would save the government 1.6 billion Australian dollars ($1.6 billion) over the next four years. He said Australia remains committed to the Joint Strike Fighter project....

...Australia is contractually obligated to take delivery of only two of the warplanes. Those will be based in the United States and be available from 2014 for training Australian pilots.

Australia had planned to take delivery of the next 12 during the following three years.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Thursday confirmed that defense spending will be cut as part of her government's ambitious plan to return the nation's budget to surplus in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1...."
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Unread post03 May 2012, 13:40

More for us.
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Unread post03 May 2012, 14:11

Probably a wise move (unlike every other move the current government has made). It will mitigate risk and as the Aus dollar gets stronger and stronger against the US, prices should come down.
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Unread post03 May 2012, 16:45

How much longer can Gillard remain in power? Days or weeks?

Seems her government is on life support and this decision could be just kow-towing to her green supporter to hold his vote.'
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Unread post03 May 2012, 17:23

Would a new government be inclined to reverse the decision?
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Unread post03 May 2012, 17:26

Basically, they're mitigating the effect of full rate production being delayed by pushing their own purchases to the right by the same amount.

If they can do that without too many Hornets dropping out of the sky with fatigue, it's a reasonable decision.
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Unread post04 May 2012, 06:57

More or less same story with this extra:

F-35 vs F/A-18E/F: Australia Punts on Both by Robert Wall on May 03, 2012

http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx? ... 466a891917

"...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,” while acknowledging the issue was still under study and a decision will be taken by year-end.

Smith had some good news for Boeing. The new defense budget will protect funding to upgrade some F/A-18F to EA-18G electronic attack aircraft, if a decision is taken to do so...."
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Unread post04 May 2012, 08:41

At least they aren't compounding their situation by acquiring,additional,SHs
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Unread post04 May 2012, 08:42

Tender – Deeper maintenance for the RAAF Classic Hornet fleet 4 May 2012

http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/2012 ... net-fleet/

"Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare announced the release of a Request for Tender (RFT) for the deeper maintenance of the F/A-18 Classic Hornet fleet.

“The F/A-18 Hornet is a very capable multi-role fighter which can undertake a wide range of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions including air combat, close air support of ground troops, and interdiction of enemy supply lines,” Mr Clare said.

“This contract will provide all deeper maintenance requirements for the 55 single-seat and 16 dual-seat aircraft and associated systems.

“This includes operational fight trainers, computer?based training systems, maintenance training systems and Classic Hornet unique ground support and test equipment.”

The RFT closes in July 2012 with the new contract expected to take effect from April 2013."
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Unread post10 May 2012, 07:36

Growler could prove a winner: RAAF chief May 10 2012 by Max Blenkin

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/846 ... raaf-chief

"...In an address to the RAAF air power conference, Air Marshal Geoff Brown said the Growler was truly a game changer which the RAAF would exploit to the maximum.

And in a pitch for the troubled Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), Air Marshal Brown recounted his own experiences flying aboard a US Air Force F-15 against the fifth-generation F-22 Raptor during a recent US Red Flag exercise.

"To put it bluntly we got our **** kicked," he said....

Air Marshal Brown said the fifth-generation JSF would meet Australia's needs for many decades, providing control of the air across the entire spectrum of conflict.

He said he had experienced the hard way advantages conferred by a fifth-generation capability. Flying aboard a dual seat F-15, he was repeatedly "killed" by adversary Raptors during the exercise.

"Let me tell you after this happened five times with not even a hint of seeing your opponent, it becomes very frustrating," he said.

Air Marshal Brown said the fifth-generation JSF would bring a new meaning to the term combat lethality.

"This is a significant capability that alters the calculus of power projection in the region," he said.""
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Unread post11 May 2012, 16:03

DEFENCE MINISTER SMITH TALKS ABOUT C-27J, JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER AND DEFENCE BUDGET AT AIR POWER CONFERENCE May 11, 2012 CANBERRA, ACT, May 10 -- The Department of Defense issued the following ministerial transcript:

http://www.avionics-intelligence.com/ne ... onfer.html

"...JOURNALIST: Minister, when do we expect to see IOC on the JSF now?

STEPHEN SMITH: Well, as we've said, we are monitoring the JSF project very carefully. I have essentially moved our arrangements on the same basis as the United States- the project has come under delays, developmental issues, concurrency issues. The United States, through the Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta, in the course of this year moved nearly 170 planes to the right, effectively putting their ordering schedule two years to the right, and we have essentially mirrored that. We are contractually committed to getting two. We'll get those in 2014/15 in the United States, for training and testing purposes. And then we'll make a judgement two years after that, two years later than originally scheduled, about when we order the twelve. And we'll make further deliberative judgements about further orders in due course.

JOURNALIST: 2021-2022?

STEPHEN SMITH: I'm not putting a time on that.

JOURNALIST: Just quickly-

STEPHEN SMITH: I'm not putting a time on that, because as everyone knows, the experience of the Joint Strike Fighter has been constant schedule movement to the right....

Nothing more at the URL about F-35s. :-( :-)
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Unread post12 May 2012, 23:13

$1.4b Spartan buy gets nod from air chief by David Ellery | May 11, 2012

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/nationa ... 1yfsi.html

"The RAAF could have an operational squadron of Joint Strike Fighters by 2019, despite a government decision to delay the purchase of the next 12 planes by two years, according to Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown.

This is only one year later than the schedule for JSF initial operating capacity - or combat readiness - Defence has been working towards for at least a decade....

....Air Marshal Brown told yesterday's Air Power conference in Canberra the RAAF needed at least 100 JSFs and it would be a mistake to order more Super Hornets - that could eat into final JSF numbers - as a stopgap.

''I'm still very much in the JSF camp; the progress I'm seeing is still positive. I haven't seen anything that is a show stopper yet,'' he said.

Air Marshal Brown would prefer Defence to extend the life of the classic Hornets, which date back to the 1980s and have already undergone significant life extension upgrades, and wait for the JSF...."

NOthing more at URL about F-35s except a more rabid description about Brown being bounced by F-22s. :twisted:
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Unread post13 May 2012, 01:53

The 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets replaced the F-111s. The problem they are facing is that if they purchased more Super Hornets, they would effectively replacing one of the F/A-18 legacy hornet squadrons. It is unlikely the RAAF would expand to have 3 F/A-18F front line squadrons and 4 F-35 squadrons, so the next purchase really would be stop-gap for the F/A-18 legacy squadrons .

There is always the possibility of selling some of the F/A-18F hornets to another country once the F-35s are delivered.
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Unread post13 May 2012, 02:21

No, the 24 RAAF Super Hornets were bought to cover the capability gap when the F-111s were retired earlier than planned before the arrival of the now much delayed F-35As. These Super Hornets do not replace the F-111 and likely will be onsold or retired once all the F-35As are in service; but of course that will be some time in the future. However the RAAF have made it clear that they want to fly only one fast jet and yet we are reminded here that the 'Growler' may growl for some time before during and after the arrival of the last F-35A.

IF the Oz Supers are onsold to anyone in the years to come then that would require US approval (remember the sorry Kiwi A-4K decade long NOT selling saga?) so the likely only candidate would be the USN but I cannot predict the future.
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Unread post13 May 2012, 03:56

Spaz, I was there when Boeing demonstrated the F/A-18F aircraft at Avalon, and even Carlo Kopp said good things about the jet. There were further demonstrations of the performance of the jet in Australia.

As much as the RAAF claim it'll be a stop-gap, they'd have a tough time sending these jets to the boneyard. The support infrastructure is paid for, as well as the jets themselves. 100+ F-35s is wishful thinking. It's highly likely that number will be cut, as Australia doesn't have the same level of defense spending the US does. My thoughts are that the number will be closer to 70, and all 24+ F/A-18Fs will remain in service.
Do you realistically think that the legacy F/A-18s will remain in service beyond 2020 without a major SLEP?

With the US Navy multi-year contract, Boeing has offered the F/A-18F for between $49m and $66m Flyaway cost, which is relatively cheap.
If the USN extends the MYP contract, which is looking more likely, then the cost will be lower for the RAAF.

The A-4K situation is different as the most A-4 operators had retired their jets, or were close to doing so. Excluding countries not friendly to the US, this only left defense contractors like ATSI as purchasers. The A-4Ks were still basically 50 year old jets, whereas the RAAF F/A-18Fs will still be relatively new, front-line jets after the F-35s are delivered.
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