6 RAAF Supers to Growlers (Fewer F-35s?)

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spazsinbad

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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 01:28

Late last year this is what the RAAF thought (no mention of second batch of 24 Super/Growlers in this briefing): http://www.raaa.com.au/convention/2012/ ... y-RAAF.pdf

Follow on info soonish.... Now see the END of the next thread entry... repeated here but with the context in next thread:

"......AIR 6000 Phase 2C New Air Combat Capability – 4th squadron
Scope

AIR 6000 Phase 2C is the final acquisition phase for the AIR 6000 project and will comprise a fourth operational squadron of F-35A aircraft, associated support and enabling capabilities, and attrition aircraft to support the planned fleet life. The decision to acquire the fourth operational JSF squadron will be considered in conjunction with a decision on the withdrawal of the F/A-18F Super Hornet in the FY 2015-16 to FY 2017-18 timeframe...."

Where today it seems obvious that AT LEAST the 12 original modified Supers to Growlers will be retained with the other 12 Supers??? Notwithstanding any mythical/chimera-like buy of extra Super/Growlers.
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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 01:30

DEFENCE CAPABILITY PLAN | PUBLIC VERSION 2012 May-July 2012

http://www.defence.gov.au/publications/ ... an2012.pdf (3Mb) pp 54-61

AIR COMBAT | AIR 6000
Background

"AIR 6000 will deliver a New Air Combat Capability (NACC) comprising around 100 Conventional Take Off & Landing (CTOL) F-35A Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) and all necessary support, infrastructure and integration to form four operational squadrons and a training squadron.

Australia joined the System Development and Demonstration phase of the JSF Program in October 2002 and through AIR 6000 Phase 1B (approved), undertook a program of detailed definition and analysis activities leading up to Government Second Pass
(acquisition) approval for Phase 2A/2B Stage 1, in November 2009.

Phase 2A/2B will acquire no fewer than 72 F-35A to form three operational squadrons and a training squadron, with first deliveries in 2014. Stage 1 (approved) will acquire 14 F-35A and associated support and enabling elements necessary to establish the initial training capability in the US and to allow conduct of Operational Test in the US and Australia. Stage 2 (unapproved) plans to acquire the remaining (at least) 58 F-35A and support and enabling elements, bringing the total to 72 aircraft. Stage 2 is planned for approval in 2014-15.

Australia’s first JSF will remain in the US for a number of years for initial conversion training of Australian pilots and maintainers, and also participation in operational test activities. Australia’s initial JSF are planned to commence arriving in Australia in 2018. They will commence dedicated Australian operational test activities, primarily to ensure effective integration with other ADF air and ground systems.

Phase 2C (unapproved) is the planned acquisition of a fourth operational JSF squadron to bring the total number of aircraft to around 100. The decision to acquire the fourth operational JSF squadron will be considered in conjunction with a decision on the withdrawal of the Super Hornet. A decision on this final batch of JSF is not expected before 2015....

...AIR 6000 Phase 2A/2B New Air Combat Capability – 3 squadrons
Scope

AIR 6000 Phase 2A/2B is the first acquisition phase for the New Air Combat Capability (NACC) project and will comprise three operational squadrons, a training squadron, associated support and enabling capabilities. Initially the JSF will be complemented by a squadron of F/A-18F Super Hornets, and together they will fulfil the functions of air dominance and strike provided by Air Force’s F/A-18A/B aircraft....

...AIR 6000 Phase 2C New Air Combat Capability – 4th squadron
Scope

AIR 6000 Phase 2C is the final acquisition phase for the AIR 6000 project and will comprise a fourth operational squadron of F-35A aircraft, associated support and enabling capabilities, and attrition aircraft to support the planned fleet life. The decision to acquire the fourth operational JSF squadron will be considered in conjunction with a decision on the withdrawal of the F/A-18F Super Hornet in the FY 2015-16 to FY 2017-18 timeframe...."
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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 01:43

gtx wrote:
neurotech wrote:I don't think the RAAF will replace the F/A-18F "strike" wings with more F-35s, but will wait for something better, such as the F/A-XX.


What sort of timeframe are you talking about here? If in the next 20yrs it will be more F-35s. If out further then you might have other options such as UCAS though I strongly doubt it will involve some mythical manned F/A-XX.

Some reports say the RAAF will return the F/A-18Fs after 10 years, which I doubt. The F/A-18Fs would likely last 20+ years in non-carrier service, at which point the F/A-XX or other 5.5th generation fighter interceptor becomes an option. Will the RAAF buy the N-UCAS and replace the F/A-18Fs, possibly but unlikely.

@gtx: Fix your quoting Spazsinbad has far different experience and opinions than I do.

@spazsinbad: Those squadrons mentioned above are all F/A-18A/B squadrons. It's probable if they do buy another 24 F/A-18E/F/Gs, then it's likely they'll reduce the F-35 numbers. The 3 active F/A-18 squadrons have around 15-20 jets each from memory, so its possible they could reduce the numbers by a few jets, and stand up another F/A-18E/F squadron.
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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 02:31

The graphic was an indication of disbursement of the F-35As for the RAAF. The last paragraph [repeated again below] makes it clear (notwithstanding a future extra buy of Super/Growler which is unlikely IMHO) that the decision about 'what to do with the Super/Growlers' already in country is yet to be made. In Oz we do things differently, we blab about stuff until a decision is made (supposedly in secret etc.) and announced. We do not divulge the detailed information that the US may provide about their aircraft costs but like to lump things together and money is put aside with provision for delay and cost overruns. None of these benchmarks have been breached. You will see no further buy of Super/Growlers. We will buy 75 odd F-35As eventually with perhaps more to follow.

"...AIR 6000 Phase 2C New Air Combat Capability – 4th squadron
Scope

AIR 6000 Phase 2C is the final acquisition phase for the AIR 6000 project and will comprise a fourth operational squadron of F-35A aircraft, associated support and enabling capabilities, and attrition aircraft to support the planned fleet life. The decision to acquire the fourth operational JSF squadron will be considered in conjunction with a decision on the withdrawal of the F/A-18F Super Hornet in the FY 2015-16 to FY 2017-18 timeframe...."
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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 03:51

neurotech wrote:
@gtx: Fix your quoting Spazsinbad has far different experience and opinions than I do.

@spazsinbad: Those squadrons mentioned above are all F/A-18A/B squadrons. It's probable if they do buy another 24 F/A-18E/F/Gs, then it's likely they'll reduce the F-35 numbers. The 3 active F/A-18 squadrons have around 15-20 jets each from memory, so its possible they could reduce the numbers by a few jets, and stand up another F/A-18E/F squadron.


RAAF fighter squadrons nominally have 18x jets assigned to them. 6 Squadron is the exception to this rule at present, having only 6x jets on-board.

If the Super Hornet purchase goes ahead, the Super Hornet squadrons will most likely have a nominal strength of 16x jets per squadron with 1, 6 and probably 75 Squadron taking on the Supers and Growlers.

6 Squadron are pegged to run all the Growlers. It isn't clear yet (because no decision has been made) as to whether the 12x Growlers in the DSCA request will replace the conversion of the pre-wired F/A-18F's, but it is certain we won't be running 24x Growlers.

If the decision goes ahead it's likely that 1 and 75 Squadron at Tindal will run 16x F/A-18F's a piece and 6 squadron will run 4x F/A-18F's and 12x EA-18G to provide an OCU capability and EW capability for RAAF.

In practice the jets are allocated to squadrons as needed, as they're only parked 100 metres away from each other at Amberley, but that will be the nominal allocation again, if it goes ahead.

The F/A-18A/B's will then consolidate at Williamstown with a reduced fleet maintained from the best of the remaining Hornets (in FLEI terms) until they can be replaced by F-35 in years to come.
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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 05:09

neurotech wrote:@gtx: Fix your quoting Spazsinbad has far different experience and opinions than I do.


Done. Sorry guys - miss one little bit and it changes the story :D
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Unread post03 Mar 2013, 07:40

Photo release: Celebrating the evolution of the F/A-18 Feb 28, 2013

http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fu ... ry&id=5274

"MELBOURNE, Australia – This year, the U.S. Navy is commemorating the 35th anniversary of the F/A-18 Hornet’s first flight. Operated by the U.S. Navy and seven international partners, the F/A-18 Hornet has evolved into two new aircraft -- the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler. Presently, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is the only international partner that flies the Super Hornet and, in the near future, the Growler. From left, Mike Gibbons, vice president of the F/A-18 and EA-18 Programs for Boeing Military Aircraft; Air Marshal Geoff Brown, chief of the RAAF; Rear Adm. Donald Gaddis, of the U.S. Navy’s Program Executive Officer for Tactical Aircraft; John Munare, Northrop Grumman Co., F/A-18 program manager; and Michael Wilking of General Electric; stand behind a model of the EA-18G Growler presented to the RAAF during the Senior Partnering Board on Feb. 27. For more information about the Legacy Hornet, Super Hornet and Growler, visit www.navair.navy.mil/hornet. (Photo courtesy of Boeing)"

BIGPIC: http://www.navair.navy.mil/img/uploads/ ... 13_081.JPG

LOGO: http://www.navair.navy.mil/img/uploads/ ... go-250.png
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Unread post06 Mar 2013, 03:07

maus92 wrote:Ah, the obfuscation continues... try $33.2M each w/o engines, guns and electronics.


Obfuscation...it sure does.

See page 61 at http://www.gao.gov/assets/160/155498.pdf.

GAO said $53.2M avg URF in FY96 bucks. Then-year dollars looking more like the current reality hidden by not counting all the items provided GFE.
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Unread post06 Mar 2013, 08:41

quicksilver wrote:
maus92 wrote:Ah, the obfuscation continues... try $33.2M each w/o engines, guns and electronics.


Obfuscation...it sure does.

See page 61 at http://www.gao.gov/assets/160/155498.pdf.

GAO said $53.2M avg URF in FY96 bucks. Then-year dollars looking more like the current reality hidden by not counting all the items provided GFE.

I think your slightly mislead by what figure is what. The budget docs clearly state what is GFE vs CFE for each aircraft. FY1996 figures are only for accountants as FRP/MYP figures are more representative of actual procurement costs.

There is a Unit Recurring Cost, which is the cost of materials and labor to build each jet. There is the Unit Flyaway Cost, which is the cost of each jet to flyaway, and includes GFE. Then there is the Program Unit Cost, which includes R&D, Support equipment, spares etc. This figure goes up when less jets are built, and can be misleading when production is changed from initial numbers.

FY2006 MYP F/A-18E/F
Airframe Cost $36.3m
Unit Reoccurring Cost $54.4m
Unit Flyaway Cost $62.4m
Weapons System Unit Cost $75.8m

That same GAO report indicated that a production rate of 72 aircraft could result in a URC(FY1996) of $43.6m vs $53.2m for 42 jets. The GAO report doesn't mention the savings as a result of the MYP purchase. IF the Navy decides to go for an extended MYP purchase, most likely with FMS purchases included, a significant reduction in the Unit Recurring Cost would be expected.
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Unread post06 Mar 2013, 09:37

gtx wrote:
neurotech wrote:
I don't think the RAAF will replace the F/A-18F "strike" wings with more F-35s, but will wait for something better, such as the F/A-XX.


What sort of timeframe are you talking about here? If in the next 20yrs it will be more F-35s. If out further then you might have other options such as UCAS though I strongly doubt it will involve some mythical manned F/A-XX.



I hear more and more people talk about the proposed F/A-XX (NGAD). Like it was in development and near to starting production. The true is its just a concept of a possible future aircraft to replace the current Super Hornet. Like the USN could find funding for its development anytime soon regardless.

Even if it was approved today and a design was selected. It would be 25-30 years before it would enter service! By guess is the NGAD will merge with a future USAF Requirement and maybe even partner with another country or both....


So, ladies in the short-term we will very likely see Super Hornets replaced by a number of F-35's. (and/or UCAV) As a matter of fact I know of one USN Fighter Squadron that has already been told it will swap its current Super Hornets for Lightning's!

Remember, the Super Hornet has been is service for 10 plus years now. At a heavy tempo. So, in another 10-15 years many will be in need of replacement. Just about the time the USN has replaced all of its F/A-18C Hornets. :wink:
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Unread post07 Mar 2013, 02:02

neurotech wrote:
quicksilver wrote:
maus92 wrote:Ah, the obfuscation continues... try $33.2M each w/o engines, guns and electronics.


Obfuscation...it sure does.

See page 61 at http://www.gao.gov/assets/160/155498.pdf.

GAO said $53.2M avg URF in FY96 bucks. Then-year dollars looking more like the current reality hidden by not counting all the items provided GFE.

I think your slightly mislead by what figure is what. The budget docs clearly state what is GFE vs CFE for each aircraft. FY1996 figures are only for accountants as FRP/MYP figures are more representative of actual procurement costs.

There is a Unit Recurring Cost, which is the cost of materials and labor to build each jet. There is the Unit Flyaway Cost, which is the cost of each jet to flyaway, and includes GFE. Then there is the Program Unit Cost, which includes R&D, Support equipment, spares etc. This figure goes up when less jets are built, and can be misleading when production is changed from initial numbers.

FY2006 MYP F/A-18E/F
Airframe Cost $36.3m
Unit Reoccurring Cost $54.4m
Unit Flyaway Cost $62.4m
Weapons System Unit Cost $75.8m

That same GAO report indicated that a production rate of 72 aircraft could result in a URC(FY1996) of $43.6m vs $53.2m for 42 jets. The GAO report doesn't mention the savings as a result of the MYP purchase. IF the Navy decides to go for an extended MYP purchase, most likely with FMS purchases included, a significant reduction in the Unit Recurring Cost would be expected.


The GAO was very clear about what is was counting in the various 'unit' costs -- there's even a chart in the document depicting same. The $53.2M is the average URF in 1996 dollars -- 1996 dollars...1996 dollars. Bring that total to current year dollars and it ranges from $54.8M in 1997 to $96M in 2016 (see page 61 if you missed it the first time). The GAO also made clear in several places in the doc that the Navy's story about costs hardly passed the giggle test. Quote --

"The $43.6 million (fiscal year 1996 dollars) unit recurring flyaway cost
estimate for the F/A-18E/F is understated. The estimate is based on a
1,000-aircraft total buy that is overstated by at least one-third because the
Marine Corps does not plan to buy the E/F and an annual production rate
that the Congress has stated is probably not possible due to funding
limitations. Reducing the total buy and annual production rate will
increase the unit recurring flyaway cost of the F/A-18E/F from $43.6 to
$53.2 million (fiscal year 1996 dollars)."


When the estimated E/F development costs increased nearly 30% in one year, Congress put a $5.8B billion dollar cap on E/F development costs and also mandated a unit cost cap as a ratio (1.25) versus a later Lot C/D. The Navy simply moved some development items off the program and incorporated some into the C/D. Voila!

The Navy has long been the best of the services at hiding the real costs of weapons systems in budget docs -- and of course, has to pay the fiddler later on when the product is actually delivered. Hence all the hoopla in recent years within the NAE about "Total Ownership Costs" because, until now, they have been dramatically underestimated in the up-front analysis coming out of the acquisition system.

The SH is a fine aircraft, but it was the Navy's mercy date to the prom after A-12 and A/F-X. Hard to believe that it is now rationalized as the CVN's 'first day of the war' asset. :(
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Unread post07 Mar 2013, 02:15

quicksilver wrote:
maus92 wrote:Ah, the obfuscation continues... try $33.2M each w/o engines, guns and electronics.


Obfuscation...it sure does.

See page 61 at http://www.gao.gov/assets/160/155498.pdf.

GAO said $53.2M avg URF in FY96 bucks. Then-year dollars looking more like the current reality hidden by not counting all the items provided GFE.


Dead link...
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Unread post07 Mar 2013, 02:19

quicksilver wrote:
The Navy has long been the best of the services at hiding the real costs of weapons systems in budget docs -- and of course, has to pay the fiddler later on when the product is actually delivered.


Are the Navy's F-35B/C numbers suspect as well? Should we expect similar GAO analysis rooting out Navy subterfuge / lowballing? To be fair to all, the budget documents are the only publicly available resource that approaches a line item comparison of cost between aircraft and programs. Yet I'm sure that there are multitudes of ways to hide actual costs - of any aircraft or program.
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Unread post07 Mar 2013, 03:40

Take Away any full stops at the end of URLs or any punctuation for that matter and links will work usually. Try this: http://www.gao.gov/assets/160/155498.pdf
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Unread post21 Mar 2013, 18:55

RAAF Classifies Growlers As Support Aircraft
By Bradley Perrett | AvWeek ARES blog

"Is an electronic attack aircraft a combat aircraft? Not according to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), which is classifying its forthcoming squadron of Boeing EA-18G Growlers as a support force distinct from its air combat units.

Its move is raising the possibility that the 12 electronic attack aircraft will add to its fast-jet fleet instead of substituting for part of it—although the move may not persuade the government to pay for more fast jets than it has planned.

The defense department, assessing the possibility of buying a second batch of 24 Boeing Super Hornets, is considering the type in all three of its versions, says a spokeswoman: the F/A-18E single-seater, F/A-18F two-seater and the EA-18G two-seat electronic attack configuration. A senior air force officer says -Es are unlikely to be acquired, however."

"Twelve of the original batch of Super Hornets were built with the wiring needed to turn them into Growlers, but the department's comments reveal that the EA-18Gs, due to achieve initial operational capability in 2018, may be newly built as part of the second batch."

"Australia will not use its Growlers in exactly the same way as the U.S. Navy does, says the senior officer, declining to give details except to note that the RAAF will not fly the same types available to U.S. electronic attack units.

F/A-18Es in any second Super Hornet batch are unlikely because it would be cheaper and more flexible to operate only two-seaters, says the senior officer. If a second crewmember is not needed, the Australian Super Hornets will fly with one seat empty."

Long post covers several issues:
http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.asp ... 62.xml&p=2
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