Australian lawmakers confident in F-35's future

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mor10

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Unread post06 Apr 2022, 16:04

Former Flight Control Technican - We keep'em flying
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Unread post08 Apr 2022, 02:08

The reported Solomon Islands <-> CCP deal cannot be going over well Down Under.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post08 Apr 2022, 07:14

Oz F-35Bs on one or two Ski Jump Carriers - too late for LHDs - they are getting too long in the TOOF for any Bees ALTHOUGH eventually when the ski jump carriers arrive LHDs could do double duty as training carriers for all reasons including ARMY.
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Unread post11 Apr 2022, 06:51

Interview with Air Commander Australia Air-Vice Marshal. 8)
https://aviationphotodigest.com/raaf-75 ... htning-ii/
RAAF 75 Squadron hones new tactics with the F-35A Lightning II
March 3, 2022 Article by Jaryd Stock Images by Jaryd Stock, Ryan Imeson, RAAF.
In December 2021, Four Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F-35A Lightning II aircraft have touched down at RAAF Base Tindal after the base was certified ready for F-35A operations.
The F-35A, which will be permanently based in the Northern Territory has replaced the F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet that was operated by No.75 Squadron for 33 years.

Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said No. 75 Squadron would operate the fifth-generation multirole fighter jets from the Top End; a strategically important location for national defence.
The Tindal-based F-35As will assure the Australian Defence Force’s ability to deter or defeat threats to Australia’s interests and strengthen the government’s ability to project potent air power into Australia’s immediate region.

No.75 Squadron will also be able to capitalise on frequent opportunities to bolster interoperability with United States Air Force (USAF) rotational aircraft deployments such as was recently conducted in November with B-1B Lancers from the 37th Bomb Squadron over the Bradshaw and Delamere training areas in the Northern Territory, under the Enhanced Air Cooperation with the USAF it’s expected that 5th Generation training along side F-22A Raptors and other platforms will also take place in the future.
By the time the Air Force is scheduled to declare F-35A Final Operational Capability in December 2023, sixteen of the fifth-generation multi-role fighters will be based at Tindal, and they will be well practiced at operating with Australian coalition partners in the region.

Air Commander Australia Air-Vice Marshal Joe “Vinny” Iervasi spoke with APD detailing the transition from F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet Operations to F-35A Lightning operations for No.75 Squadron.
“The F-35 is a true 5th generation capability, an all knowing and all seeing platform, its ability to fuse everything within the battle space hasn’t been seen in any of our previous Air Combat Group platforms.”

“With its ability to connect with other platforms, it now takes us to a range of operations that we haven’t been able to accomplish before,” AVM Iervasi stated.
With the setup in platform from Hornet to Lightning, 75 Squadron are now better equipped to respond to threats, and take action when called upon by Government.

With that platform comes new combat tactics to hone skills and get the best out of the Lightning, and as Air Combat Groups 81 Wing have now fully transitioned to the F-35, crews will be mastering their craft as both a sensor and a shooter.
AVM Iervasi details a little bit more on how that transition has taken place and the capacity in which F-35 pilots are able to work with.

“The F/A18 Classic Hornet systems and tactics were derived upon the fighter principle of mutual support – the ability to support and cover your wingman whilst executing the mission. The introduction of the Super Hornet with enhanced systems and situational awareness enabled us to evolve tactics to extend the way mutual support was achieved and therefore be more dynamic and flexible in execution.”
“The F35A has taken that to another level again. So today F35A tactics are almost unrecognisable to Classic Hornet tactics. That has been the true evolution of moving from 4th generation through to 4.5 to 5th generation capability. As Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld has said, the F35A replaces nothing and changes everything,” AVM Iervasi concluded.

The F-35 Program Prime Contractor, Lockheed Martin is supporting aircraft maintenance at RAAF Base Tindal and the Australian Defence Force are working closely with F135 engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney to ensure Tindal is effectively set up for long-term engine maintenance supporting 75 Squadron operations.
Nothing beats a Northern Territory sunset, especially as now the local top end fighter combat squadron has had the sun set on Classic Hornet operations. But with every sunset it’s guaranteed that there will be a glorious sunrise, that sunrise of F-35A Lightning Operations for No.75 Squadron has now begun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1toqgvObPs

Other older articles on the same site.
https://aviationphotodigest.com/exercis ... hunder-21/
Thunder and Lightning over Arnhem Land
Report by Stocky Photos by Stocky and RAAF June 20, 2021

Exercise Arnhem Thunder saw a number of firsts notably the F-35A Lightning II operate out of RAAF Base Darwin for the first time during an exercise, 10 aircraft from 3 Squadron deployed from Williamtown in New South Wales to Darwin.
It also saw the first time two F-35’s were converted to “Beast Mode” operations, that is where external pylons were fitted to the wings of the F-35’s to carry external ordnance.
Commanding Officer of 3SQN, Wing Commander Matthew Harper said the F-35 was the only Western built jet that could carry both internal and external ordnance.
“This design feature allows our F-35’s to be adapted to suit the threat environment and operational requirements,” WGCDR Harper said.

“This mode (Beast Mode) would most likely be used in less contested airspace environments where rapid employment of ordnance is prioritised over maximising the Lightning’s stealth capabilities.”
In addition to their internal payload which consisted of two GBU-31 bombs, the two F-35’s (A35-022 and A35-028) departed RAAF Base Darwin, each with four inert GBU-12 laser guided bombs attached to their under-wing pylons.
“The GBU-12 is a laser guided munition that can be employed against a variety of different target types in combat,” WGCDR Harper said.
It was noted before the exercise had commenced at RAAF Base Williamtown, that external pylons had been fitted to at least two F-35’s as they conducted training off the coast of New South Wales.

As part of the training scenario, the aircraft dropped their bombs on ground-based targets at the Delemere Air Weapons Range, which is located about 120 kilometres South of the town of Katherine in the Northern Territory where RAAF Base Tindal is located.
The F-35’s dropped over 50 GBU-12 bombs during the exercise.
It was also the first time the F-35As, Super Hornets, Growlers deployed together as a high-end warfighting and 5th generation air combat package that has long been envisioned by the RAAF under Plan Jericho, and is now just reaching it’s full potential.
A lone F-35A Lighting (A35-029) arrived at RAAF Base Tindal during the exercise also making another first during the exercise as the first time a Lightning had touched down at the base.

https://aviationphotodigest.com/raaf-lightning-arrives/ January 17, 2019 CAF Davies stated that the aircraft is more than just a 5th generation aircraft, “The F-35 is not just a fifth-generation fighter, with speed, agility and advanced information systems, it is the catalyst for transforming us into a fifth generation fighting force.”

https://aviationphotodigest.com/red-flag-17-1/
Red Flag 17-1 – The F-35A joins the exercise
Report and photos by Isaac Lebowitz March 2, 2017

The F-35A aircraft came from the 34th Fighter Squadron which is part of the 388th Fighter Wing out of Hill Air Force Base in Utah. “Our Airmen are excited to bring the F-35 to a full-spectrum combat exercise,” said Col. David Lyons, 388th FW commander in a USAF interview. “(The Red Flag) battle space is going to be a great place to leverage our stealth and interoperability. It’s a lethal platform and I’m confident we will prove to be an invaluable asset to the commander.”
Lt Colonel George Watkins , the Commander of the 34th Fighter Squadron described the F-35s role in the exercise “We brought 13 F-35s from Hill Air Force Base down to Red Flag. This is the first Red Flag participation of the A model. The F-35 complements the F-22 as a 5th generation platform. They are designed for air to air and we are designed for the suppression of enemy air defense mission. So finding the advanced SAMs and locating them. We can see the ground through the weather with our SAR mapping radar, detect a threat and take it out before it’s a factor to the other aircraft out there. That’s what we’ve been training to do here.”
He went on to say “Our missions that we are flying here with the F-35 are the same missions that the other aircraft are participating in. We’ve got defensive counter air which is where we’re defending a territory against aggressor forces. We’ve got air interdiction where we’re trying to strike targets deep in enemy territory and we’ve got dynamic targeting missions where we’re trying to find targets on the fly. We’re detecting the threats, finding them on the ground and then trying to hit those targets. Those are our three primary missions.”

Lt Colonel Dave DeAngelis, Reserve Detachment commander from Hill AFB, addressed some of the integration between the F-35 and the other aircraft “The thing that’s nice about the F-35 is that we transmit across the Link 16 community. Link 16 is a network which all the aircraft are on, so we’re able to transmit our positions. When I fly with our 4th gen aircraft, they’re able to know exactly where my position is. They’re able to see what some of my sensors are doing as well, so we’re able to help them out. At times there are some high end threats on the initial vul of Red Flag, kind of when we first start flying, so the F-35s and F-22s will go and initially take out those high end threats and that enables the 4th gen aircraft to go in when there are lower threats out there. That’s what we’ve been able to do for the past 2 weeks here at Red Flag.”

The Royal Air Force brought various assets to this exercise led by Wing Commander Billy Cooper. When asked what kind of missions the RAF are flying and what do you hope to learn from the process, he replied, ” We brought eight Typhoon aircraft with us from which we’re flying 2 waves of 6 aircraft each day. The majority of what we’re doing is air to air fighting, but as a swing role platform we’re carrying bombs on some of the missions as well. Some of the time we have been using the F-35 to find some of the integrated air defense systems and on occasion the Typhoons have been dropping the bombs on those targets. A lot of the time we’re out in front of the package and providing air to air cover and quite often an F-35 is providing some of the Link 16 picture that we are able to use to generate situational awareness for us.”
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Unread post14 Apr 2022, 09:28

Australia to require AUD14.6 billion to sustain F-35 fleet to 2053
13 Apr 2022 Akhil Kadidal

"Australia expects to spend AUD14.6 billion (USD10.87 billion) to sustain its Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fleet till 2053, defence officials said. [Jeepers I'll 105 years old then] Speaking to members of the Australian parliament's Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee on 6 April, Air Vice-Marshal Leon Phillips, head of the Aerospace Systems Division, said a range of factors could drive up costs beyond 2032.

“The most important point to make is that, particularly for these modern capabilities, there is really no such thing as a final operational capability once the project acquisition is delivered,” AVM Phillips told the committee. “There is a constant evolution of capabilities to deal with [operations].”

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) said that AUD623 million has been spent so far on sustaining the fleet of 48 aircraft from 2015 to 30 June 2021. AVM Phillips added that the 2021–22 budget sustainment cost was AUD314 million...."

Source: https://www.janes.com/defence-news/air- ... et-to-2053
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Unread post16 Apr 2022, 01:40

It's a mix of numbers

https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/do ... 98/0000%22
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: That gives me better context, thanks, Senator. What I could say is that we have
progressively approved and allocated the sustainment budget as we've understood more and more about what has
been a developmental capability. In terms of our life to date, if I could go up to the previous financial year, we
have spent $623 million thus far on sustaining the capability.
Senator AYRES: That's 2020-21?
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: Through until 30 June 2021, that's correct.
Senator WONG: What's the time frame for that $600 million?
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: That was in financial year 2015-16 through to financial year 2020-21.
Senator WONG: So, over six years, sustainment costs—not acquisition at all—
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: No. They're sustainment costs.
Senator WONG: are 600 and?
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: $623 million.
Senator WONG: $623 million. And remind me how many aircraft were able to be deployed over that period.
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: At the moment we have 48 aircraft.
Senator WONG: Over 2015 to 2021, which is the period of the $600-plus million—
Air Vice-Marshal Meredith: We would be building the fleet over that time. Our first two aircraft were in
2014, and we continue to add to the fleet over time.
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: Senator, would you like me to continue?
Senator AYRES: Yes, please.
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: So, as at the end of last financial year, we had a current sustainment budget that
was approved of $1.613 billion, and that related to sustainment all the way through to 2024-25.
Senator AYRES: That's a three-year—
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: Four years.
Senator AYRES: Four years, thank you.
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: Correct. I'm adding them up too!
Senator AYRES: So that's four years. As was pointed out, the size of the fleet is expanding, but that's more
than a doubling of sustainment costs over the forwards.
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: Yes. I can give you a sense of those numbers. In the last financial year, FY 2020-
21, we started with 22 aircraft. We have grown that to 37 aircraft. By the end of this financial year, we expect to
be at 54 aircraft. Again, you would appreciate that, as we increase our fleet, we have a commensurate increase in
our sustainment costs for those aircraft.
Senator AYRES: And, at the end of 2022-23, 72 aircraft?
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: December 2023.
Senator AYRES: I know that doesn't sit with the financial years, but at the end of 2023, 72 aircraft?
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: Correct.
Senator AYRES: And, presumably, at the end of the financial year, a little bit short of that. What's the 2021-
22 budgeted sustainment costs?
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: The 2021-22 budget sustainment cost is $314 million. That's our expected
expenditure.
Senator AYRES: And 2022-23?
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: I have $328 million.
Senator AYRES: What happens after that?
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: As we move from 54 aircraft, we increase that sustainment cost. We also have—
Senator AYRES: But the number of aircraft is not the only variable, is it? There will be maintenance cycles
and—
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: That's correct.
Senator AYRES: So you will have a clear idea for 2023-24 and 2024-25?
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: We have an estimate out to 2024-25—that's correct—which we will continue to
revise.
Senator AYRES: Is that as far as the estimate goes?
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: We do have a figure that was appropriated in December last year. Another seven
years was appropriated. I'd have to take a question on notice as to that figure. I don't have that at hand at the
moment.
Senator AYRES: So in December 2021—
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: There was a further government agreement for the next seven years.
Senator AYRES: And that was seven years from 2021-22 or seven years from 2022-23?
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: I expect it is from 2024-25 onwards.
Senator AYRES: So that would take you through to 2031. Is that right?
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: If you are talking about roughly, you're roughly right. I'd have to take a question
on notice if you want more specific dates.
Senator AYRES: That simply takes you out to—
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: That's not to life of type of the aircraft. Is that where you are going?
Senator AYRES: Yes.
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: That's correct. We do have a future sustainment provision. If I go back, let's talk
about those seven years plus the remainder. At the end of last financial year, that figure that was set aside was
$12.986 billion, and that would take it out to financial year 2053-54. I would say again that these are estimates.
Senator WONG: Say that again—what's the figure?
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: It's $12.986 billion.
Senator WONG: Billion?
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: Correct.
Senator AYRES: And that's—
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: That's from 2025-26 through to 2053-54. That's an estimate of what it would be.
There would be a range of factors that would affect the final number. I think the most important point to make is
that, particularly for these modern capabilities, there is really no such thing as a final operational capability once
the project acquisition is delivered. There is a constant evolution of capabilities to deal with ops. In essence, to
deal with increased capability insertions, at each of those we would consider what is any delta to the ongoing
sustainment costs for those aircraft at that point in time.
Senator AYRES: So $13 billion—round numbers. At any point, is adding a new platform always a
sustainment cost? At any point is adding a new platform—whatever the equivalent of a life of type extension is in
the JSF world—always a sustainment costs or are they sometimes capital acquisition costs?
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: They can be a mix. As you would appreciate, there is an element in the
sustainment budget that treats obsolescence and minor technology insertions, and we have catered for that. More
significant investments and upgrades and recapitalisation would require a major capital submission to
government.
Senator AYRES: So 72 aircraft and $13 billion over that period. In rough figures, the $13 billion added to the
$1.613 billion figure you gave me from now, that's essentially the number from now through to 2053. Is that
right?
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: What I will say is we may have major capability insertions. That could be another
submission to government that might occur between now and the life-of-type. That may have to consider some
Delta sustainment costs, or even some efficiencies that may come—
Senator AYRES: I was going to come to that. But is it right to say that from now to 2053, 72 are aircraft—it's
essentially 14.6 billion?
Air Vice-Marshal Phillips: That's, essentially, the numbers you've added up; you're roughly right, yes.
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Unread post04 Jul 2022, 04:15

Next-Gen Jammer Mid-Band Testing Underway [8 PDF of article attached - just Oz quote below]
Winter 2021 Kristin Wilcox et al

U.S. Navy and Australia Strengthen Ties with NGJ Joint Partnership
Winter 2021 Royal Australian Air Force Wing Commander Russ Barton

"Partnering with the U.S. Navy on the Next-Generation Jammer (NGJ) weapon system reflects the strong and long-standing relationship between the U.S. and Australia. The technological and industrial cooperation enabled by these arrangements deepens the alliance, enhances capability and provides the opportunity for both nations to build broader, more robust supply chains and support systems.

Similar to the U.S. Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) EA-18G Growler fleet enhances the survivability and lethality of Australian forces, with capabilities further strengthened as NGJ capabilities come online.

Maintaining a common configuration with the U.S. Navy promotes significant interoperability benefits, allowing seamless integration with U.S. forces as an allied partner on exercises and operations. This common configuration and Australia’s continued contribution to NGJ-Mid-Band development enable access to the cutting-edge technologies needed to protect our interests in the Indo-Pacific region.

The anticipated benefits of cooperative support to sustainability and future capability enhancements are also impressive.

Australia sees many advantages in contributing early and throughout the acquisition life cycle, side-by-side with the U.S. Navy, sharing the risks and rewards. Aside from allowing early access to leading edge technology, the partnership also facilitates enhanced understanding of the capability, allowing efficient integration into our force structure.

Australia and the U.S. have a strong and trusted relationship founded in the Foreign Military Sales F/A-18 Program since the mid-1980s and reinforced through cooperative programs like P-8A Poseidon and NGJ.

Australia looks forward to continuing this special relationship and further enhancing and expanding cooperation on other similar capabilities in the future.

Wing Commander Russ “MAX” Barton is the Australian Deputy Project Manager for the NGJ Joint Program Office."

Photo: "From left, U.S. Navy Lt. Jonathan Williams, VX- 23 test pilot; U.S. Navy Capt. Michael Orr, AEA Systems Program manager; Royal Australian Air Force Flight Lieutenant Gary Harvie, NGJ cooperative partner representative; and Chris Lovelace, Boeing mission systems operator and NGJ project officer, display the program office’s U.S. and Australian flags flown on the maiden NGJ-MB pod test flight Aug. 7."


Source: https://navalaviationnews.navylive.dodl ... Winter.pdf (5Mb)
Attachments
NGJ MidBandTest NAN 2021_00Winter pp8.pdf
(487.88 KiB) Downloaded 109 times
NGJtestUsOzCoOp.jpg
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Unread post15 Aug 2022, 05:04

More sonic booms likely over NT RAAF base
15 Aug 2022 Tim Dornin

"More sonic booms from the RAAF's new supersonic F-35A Lightning II aircraft may be heard over the Katherine area in the Northern Territory with the new fighters now operating out of the Tindal base, the defence force says. Air Combat Group Commander Tim Alsop, says supersonic flights will occur more frequently with the F-35A compared to the older F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets because of the design of the new jets.

"The F-35A is more streamlined, as it carries its fuel and weapons internally," Air Commodore Alsop said. "The majority of supersonic flying occurs over the ocean. However, an important element of maintaining this key capability requires supersonic flight to also occur over land."

Commodore Alsop said the increase in supersonic flights would remain "relatively unnoticeable" and people hearing sonic booms should not be alarmed. "Supersonic flight is not approved near major built-up areas, but occasionally the sonic boom, which is created as the aircraft races past its own noise, can be heard more than 20 kilometres away," he said."

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... r-AA10EyLs
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Unread post27 Aug 2022, 05:25

There have been news stories all day (commercial radio) about Australia wanting to buy another 28 F-35.

No details, just media gabbing.

No idea why anyone thinks an ideal of "up to 100" aircraft commitment, from ~15 years ago, should still be considered valid, in 2022, and in the prevailing conditions? Such a decision should be based on strategic situation and the threat of near-term hemispheric major-war potential. In which case, we'd buy more than 28, and be considering the JOINT force-structure for successful data-centric capacity to fight a multi-domain full-scale war, which may last years.

IMO this would be 36 x F-35B (2 sqns), and at least 24 (sqn) of F-35A

Or ~60 more F-35, as the minimum additional F-35 necessary, and follow that up ASAP with ~10 x B-21.

And Army operates F-35B FARPs for high-end datacentric local and area ground-combat, and possibly disperse them on LHD, if that's advantageous, otherwise, all mat-pad and bare-base operation.

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Unread post27 Aug 2022, 05:33

Good 2c! Wattle Become of his dreams but. :mrgreen: I'm not listening to radio these days with my eyes glued to a computer screen (my BIG PDF now has some 18,750+ pages). <sigh> I guess there will be online text soon. pprune chatter (if it is to be believed - my 2c - NO!) says we won't get the new Black Hawk helos even - but - wot do I know. pPrune knows all. :roll:
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Unread post27 Aug 2022, 06:21

The Blackhawks are chicken-feed really, another tranche for SoF would be needed, so that could only be a beginning, unless they want to go all-in, and early, with a US Army choice for replacement after the 40.

But throwing out chicken-feed in the F-35's direction already. Their calling it an absolutely vital ADF capability, etc. 'Decision' in Dec or January, or a trump card for the next fed budget I suppose.

Finding it hard to get excited, but I suppose we can place trust in Angus Houston's JOINT thinking, whatever that maybe. Would have liked to see a lot more Army involvement in this, when all is said and done.
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Unread post27 Aug 2022, 06:37

The gov have said they are doing a full defence review and will be announced by March with the subs.
The decision for more F-35 was to be made in 2025. They may have brought it forward? I don't give any odds to getting f-35B, without getting a ship to put them on. They say the Canberra class are fully utilised as they are. As was originally planned and confirmand by a couple of 'look and see' The last I know was with Tony Abbot. I could see a few V-22, V-280 or similar a possibility.
Regardless of forums, I'd put money on us getting the Blackhawks.
Last edited by optimist on 27 Aug 2022, 06:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post27 Aug 2022, 06:50

History does not repeat I suppose because the FAA was already there when: it was going to be an all helo outfit in the early 1960s, then KONFRONTASI up north so back to FIXED WING onboard MELBOURNE by the late 1960s. Of course it all went bust again in the early 1980s and has remained busted since. HELIOPLICKERs? The RAN/ARMY can't seem to manage them when they are EUROTRASH. Shades of Mirage IIIO but of course I'm biased. I guess we'll see what the future brings.

AND THEN there is THIS: https://australianaviation.com.au/2022/ ... er-bomber/

MARLES [new Defence Minister] HINTS RAAF COULD BUY B-21 RAIDER BOMBER 27 Aug 2022
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Unread post27 Aug 2022, 08:10

Then we would need NGAD to escort them.
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spazsinbad

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Unread post27 Aug 2022, 08:12

:doh: EGADS! NGAD? We need the starship whatsitsname! :devil:
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos
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