Australian lawmakers confident in F-35's future

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spazsinbad

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Unread post28 Feb 2013, 20:26

Australian lawmakers confident in F-35's future 28 Feb 2013 By Rob Taylor

http://www.4-traders.com/LOCKHEED-MARTI ... ountview=0

"Australia's conservative opposition, which is expected to win elections in September, said on Thursday it supported Lockheed Martin's troubled F-35 to be the country's next frontline warplane, despite problems and huge cost blowouts.

A day after the Pentagon's F-35 program chief lashed Lockheed and engine maker Pratt & Whitney for trying to "squeeze every nickel" out of the U.S. government, Australian lawmakers expressed confidence in the futuristic jet.

"The air force is supportive of the project, wants the aircraft and sees it as the future, as do we," said Senator David Johnston, defense spokesman for the opposition, which is forecast to sweep away the minority Labor government in a September 14 vote.

"It is pertinent to our immediate region and it fits into our air combat doctrine perfectly, and to some extent leads the doctrine," Johnston told Reuters from Washington on Thursday after briefings on the F-35 with U.S. officials, who told him the aircraft was "over the hump" with its development....

...An announcement on the extra Hornets and the timetable for delivery of the first squadron of F-35s, also known as Joint Strike Fighters (JSF), will likely come in June with the government's release of a new defense strategy blueprint.

Johnston, the man likely to decide the purchase next year if the conservatives win, said while both of Australia's major political blocs differed on defense budgeting and timing of acquisitions, the Joint Strike Fighter had broad support.

"At this stage we are optimistic that Australia will be a customer for a very significant number, although what that number will be is still a little bit up in the air," said Johnston.

Defense analysts predict Australia might end up buying between 50 and 70 of the fighters instead of 100, although Canberra could also buy the full number but over a longer timeframe beyond 2020, depending on a budget recovery....

...Australia is the second biggest international buyer after Britain, and its small air force is one of the most technically advanced in Asia and a pointer to emerging regional defense capabilities....

...The opposition spokesman on military purchasing, Gary Humphries, said a future conservative government would continue with the F-35, as the high-tech jet would smooth cooperation with allied air forces in Japan and possibly Singapore.

"This could be the shape of air power for effectively the 21st Century. The JSF holds much greater promise for Australian air power needs than any other alternative," Humphries said...."

Usual already known stuff at the jump but go read it to remind us all.
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Unread post02 Mar 2013, 22:14

Met with both AVM Osley (head of NACC) and Lt Gen Bogdan in the last few days. Two pertinent bits of news from these meetings is that of the 3 options given to Govt (and incidentally also to Oppostion) for new fighters, every one has F-35s in it, and Lt Gen Bogdan has briefed Minister Smith and confirmed that he will be able to deliver F-35s to Australia well in the timetable demanded for new fighters.
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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 00:05

Here are the words of the General on this thread: F-35 chief Bogdan to execute, not cheerlead - Avalon AirShow

http://www.f-16.net/index.php?name=PNph ... ris#246029

{I see 'gtx' has commented on this thread also}

"...Lt Gen Bogdan said that despite the problems experienced in the past, he was confident in the ability to deliver a more advanced, survivable jet to the RAAF and other partner nations.

“Relative to the schedule, if the plan which Australia intends on moving forward with stays to IOC in 2020 with the [initial warfighting capability software Block] 3i, I will tell you that Australia doesn’t have much to worry about,” he said.

“Why? Because in 2015 I have to deliver the same capability to the US Marine Corp. Eight months later I have to deliver the same capability to Italy in 2016, then in the middle of 2017 I have to deliver the same capability to the Israelis. Then there will be a three year wait until we deliver to the Australians.”

“So even if I screw this up royally – and I do not intend to do that – I’m pretty sure I’ll meet Australia’s 2020 date.”

FROM: http://australianaviation.com.au/2013/0 ... cheerlead/
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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 00:12

gtx wrote:Met with both AVM Osley (head of NACC) and Lt Gen Bogdan in the last few days. Two pertinent bits of news from these meetings is that of the 3 options given to Govt (and incidentally also to Oppostion) for new fighters, every one has F-35s in it, and Lt Gen Bogdan has briefed Minister Smith and confirmed that he will be able to deliver F-35s to Australia well in the timetable demanded for new fighters.


The MoD's primary concerns are the possible capabilities gap arising out of additional delays in the program as well as cost escalations. Gen. Bogdan would have reassured the Aussies on both concerns.. will it be enough to deter acquisition of additional interim SHs?
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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 00:18

Because the decision to NOT take up another lot of Supers/Growlers so far, AND the recent developments including Gen. Bogdan visit, I do not think there will be any more Supers for the RAAF. The issue has been one way to smokescreen the deferment of the next 12 F-35As for the RAAF to make the DefMin look like he is doing his job/or look good or just blabber without saying much which is his usual modus operandi. He used to be Foreign Minister and would like to go back there toot sweet. He had to give up that job much to his chagrin to be the DefMin.
Last edited by spazsinbad on 03 Mar 2013, 00:19, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 00:19

will it be enough to deter acquisition of additional interim SHs?


Well a lot of that will be dependent upon how much political capital the Govt thinks they can gain from a possible SH buy in this election year... :roll:

Cynical? Who me? :wink:
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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 00:21

spazsinbad wrote:Because the decision to NOT take up another lot of Supers/Growlers so far, AND the recent developments including Gen. Bogdan visit, I do not think there will be any more Supers for the RAAF. The issue has been one way to smokescreen the deferment of the next 12 F-35As for the RAAF to make the DefMin look like he is doing his job/or look good or just blabber without saying much which is his usual modus operandi. He used to be Foreign Minister and would like to go back there toot sweet. He had to give up that job much to his chagrin to be the DefMin.


My thoughts almost exactly.
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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 01:07

I'm a big believer in the benefits of operating a single platform going into the future. You guys are closer to the politics so I hope you're right.
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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 03:02

popcorn wrote:I'm a big believer in the benefits of operating a single platform going into the future. You guys are closer to the politics so I hope you're right.

What if that "single platform" gets grounded during a critical time? At least with a F-35/Super Hornet mix there is options if one gets grounded.
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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 03:33

Grounding an entire fleet is all about acceptable risk.

In peacetime the risk threshold is extremely low so they will ground a fleet fairly easily.

In wartime that risk threshold rises considerably and there would have to be a lot of evidence that a significant chance of something going wrong if they fly the plane would be needed in order to ground the fleet.

During the recent F-22 groundings they stated that if it were wartime that they would have let them fly.
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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 03:42

neurotech wrote:
popcorn wrote:I'm a big believer in the benefits of operating a single platform going into the future. You guys are closer to the politics so I hope you're right.

What if that "single platform" gets grounded during a critical time? At least with a F-35/Super Hornet mix there is options if one gets grounded.


It didn't deter them from standardizing on the Classic Hornet back in the day. Yes they had F111s for strike but even that capability would be constrained w/o Hornets providing escort. In the A2A arena, hey had all their eggs in one basket.

The very real benefits accruing from the single platform approach obviously outweighed a perceived concern with very low probability of happening... that seemed to be their mindset with the Hornet. So they do have a track record of going with single platform approaches e.g.Wedgetail. AWD, etc.
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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 03:55

spazsinbad wrote:Because the decision to NOT take up another lot of Supers/Growlers so far, AND the recent developments including Gen. Bogdan visit, I do not think there will be any more Supers for the RAAF. The issue has been one way to smokescreen the deferment of the next 12 F-35As for the RAAF to make the DefMin look like he is doing his job/or look good or just blabber without saying much which is his usual modus operandi. He used to be Foreign Minister and would like to go back there toot sweet. He had to give up that job much to his chagrin to be the DefMin.


Perhaps though that ignores the elephant in the room, which is that the Hornets are rapidly fading...

It is a convergence of F-35 delays and the aging Hornets (and the idiotic reduction in CBR upgrades a few years back) that is pushing the Super Hornet purchase.

If F-35 were available today, we wouldn't be having this discussion. But for all it's positives, it isn't and won't be for years.
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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 04:47

Conan wrote:Perhaps though that ignores the elephant in the room, which is that the Hornets are rapidly fading...

It is a convergence of F-35 delays and the aging Hornets (and the idiotic reduction in CBR upgrades a few years back) that is pushing the Super Hornet purchase.

If F-35 were available today, we wouldn't be having this discussion. But for all it's positives, it isn't and won't be for years.

Politically, "reducing program costs" sounds like a good thing to the average voter, except that we get situations where refurbishment or Center Barrel Replacement program is delayed/reduced with a short-term saving. Without these upgrades and refurbishment, the fleet gets old fast, and as you say, would then essentially require a further Super Hornet purchase. The CBR option is relatively cheap (under $4m per aircraft from memory) and extends the service life significantly.

How many RAAF F/A-18 pilots went into politics? Apparently not enough..
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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 06:39

The Canadian Govmnt website thought this 'Oz' newspaper article worthwhileenough to republish. There is the usual error about why the first lot of Supers were bought (some memes - correct or not will never die - especially on the internet - but - whatever). I - perhaps - would have picked a better article about these issues than this one - but - there you go.... Perhaps the Canuks liked the battleship V aircraft carrier analogy [WVR v BVR]? Only a very small excerpt below.

For security’s sake, Joint Strike Fighter is way of the future The Australian, Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor, March 2, 2013

http://f-35.ca/2013/for-securitys-sake- ... he-future/

"...The government is considering another 24 Super Hornets with a view to getting some JSFs some time in the future, and eventually running a mixed fleet. But given the length of time we keep planes in service – 40 years for the F-111s – and the dire state of the defence budget, it would probably be many years, 2025 at the absolute earliest, before we ever got any JSFs.

In the long run, this would leave us with an inferior air force and higher costs. An air force, by say 2035 or 2040, of 48 Super Hornets and 50 JSFs would be vastly inferior to an air force of 100 JSFs. As well, it would be more expensive to have two separate training and maintenance operations and to integrate two radically different planes into single-mission capabilities. More important, many of our wealthy neighbours will have JSFs or something like them. Japan has committed to a substantial JSF purchase. Given that, it is difficult to see South Korea sticking with a 4th-generation plane while Tokyo has the 5th generation. The Singaporeans are said to favour the JSF, especially the short take off and landing version, which gives them the ability to use even some of their roads as runways if necessary, and thus get round one of their vulnerabilities, that their air fields could be attacked...."
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Unread post20 Apr 2013, 00:27

Greg Sheridan gets to visit the LM factory and see the F-35 up close.


http://m.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/c ... 6624677731

Very best of the next generation
Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor April 20, 2013 12:00AM

It is an exaggeration to say a stealth plane is invisible. When it opens its weapons bay, it creates a signature. When it gets too close, it's observable. The opposition radar designers do what they can to defeat stealth. Technology is always a cat-and-mouse contest. But stealth also does its job if it merely disrupts the enemy's kill chain. Enemy radar must identify the F-35, track it, send this data to a weapons system, then have that weapons system deliver a strike on the F-35. A fleeting glimpse for the enemy may not be enough to do all that. "There are typically two sorts of people who believe in stealth," a lean, wiry test pilot tells me. "The first is those who have flown stealth. The second is those who have flown against it." For them, not seeing is believing. Another test pilot tells me F-16 pilots hate flying in mock combat against the F-22s, even if it means soft duty in Las Vegas and the Arizona test fields. It's not just that the F-16 always loses. It's more that there's no fun in the encounter. The F-16 pilot never even sees the Raptor. He just gets told his plane has been killed..

There are trade-offs involved even for a system as complex and involved as the F-35. It sacrifices some turning ability for stealth. It sacrifices a fraction of manoeuvrability for speed and range. But what is undeniable is that for decades the F-35 will be the most survivable aircraft, the very hardest to kill. Much of its new capability comes from its integrated sensors, and the ability to share and integrate data with other F-35s, and other air and ground buddies. Each F-35 is a system of systems in itself. A squadron of F-35s is an exponential increase of that capability. As a result, an F-35 pilot won't really be flying a plane on his own. He will be part of a wolf pack. Targeting will be uniquely precise, and early, because of the fusion of countless data points...

The controversies about the F-35 remind me of the derision the F-111 attracted in its development phase. The F-111, of course, went on to become Australia's strategic strike capability for decades. But whereas there were only about 500 F-111s built, and we were the last to operate them, there will be 3000 or more F-35s and they will be manufactured for decades to come. This has enormous implications for their ability to be supported and maintained. Australia is notionally planning to buy 100 F-35s, though this figure is pretty fudgeable. When you acquire genuine world-leading new technology, there are always alarums and diversions, delays and cost over-runs. We are a wealthy nation with a very small population in a teeming region with more than its share of instability. A key ingredient of our national security doctrine is to maintain a technology edge over our neighbours. But most of the region now has fourth-generation fighters with essentially the same capabilities as our own. The F-35 is the best of the fifth generation. With constant American software upgrades, it would keep us ahead of the pack for decades.
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