Australian lawmakers confident in F-35's future

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Unread post15 Jul 2020, 17:48

U.S. and Australia expand Next Gen Jammer cooperative partnership
14 Jul 2020 NavAirSysCom

"NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- The. U.S. Department of Defense and Australian Department of Defence officially expanded their Next Generation Jammer cooperative partnership to increase joint capabilities in the future on July 13. The two countries signed a Next Generation Jammer Low Band (NGJ-LB) Project Arrangement (PA) to ensure commonality on future jamming variants. The jointly managed cooperative partnership gives both countries more benefits to include shared costs and risks....

...“This expanded partnership with Australia to develop the newest Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) jamming capability shows the level of commitment of both countries to ensure continued superiority of the electromagnetic spectrum,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Michael Orr, AEA Systems program manager (PMA-234), who oversees all NGJ programs. “The NGJ-LB PA allows for joint sharing of the best technologies in the world, furthering the AEA capabilities of both the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).”...

...The program will enter the next phase of acquisition when the Capability Block 1 contract is awarded fall 2020. NGJ-LB will utilize the latest digital and software-based technologies that will address advanced and emerging threats in the lower frequency bands of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Additionally, the two countries signed a second memorandum of agreement in May to enter production, sustainment and follow-on development of the AN/ALQ-249 Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) and follow-on variants. “Having a cooperative sustainment strategy will increase military effectiveness at home and abroad, strengthen technology capabilities, and reduce a duplication of effort across nations,” said Orr...."

Source: https://www.navair.navy.mil/news/US-and ... 42020-0812
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Unread post10 Aug 2020, 22:56

Next-Gen Jammer Mid-Band pod takes first flight on Growler
10 Aug 2020 Kristine Wilcox, PMA-234 communications NavAirSysCom

"NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- The Navy’s Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) successfully completed its first mission systems flight with an EA-18G Growler at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, Aug. 7.... The first flight, conducted by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, is a Safety of Flight (SOF) checkout that ensures the pods can be safely flown on the EA-18G aircraft for follow-on test flights. “There was a lot of discussion on how the NGJ-MB pod would affect how the Growler handles and it was exciting to have the jet feel like any other flight,” said Lt. Jonathan Williams, VX-23 test pilot...."

Photo: "Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band (NGJ-MB) flies for the first time on an EA-18G Growler, Aug. 7, over Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. The NGJ-MB capability, forward pod located under the right wing of the aircraft, is a jamming technology that provides enhanced airborne electronic attack capabilities to the EA-18G Growler platform (U.S. Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt)" https://www.navair.navy.mil/sites/g/fil ... k=PYMaX8hz


Source: http://www.navair.navy.mil/news/Next-Ge ... 02020-1619
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Unread post13 Oct 2020, 13:24

I'm wondering what the upgrade entails & does it include MADL (for the thrill innit)? Anyway I'll have to find more info eh.
From 2014 Enhanced A330 Tanker/transport: https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news ... /transport
From 2016: https://www.slideshare.net/robbinlaird/ ... -june-2016 (PDF 2.6Mb)
Airbus selected for Communications and Mission System upgrade on the Royal Australian Air Force MRTT fleet
12 Oct 2020 AIRbus PR

"Airbus has been selected by the Commonwealth of Australia (CoA) to develop a Communications and Mission System modernization upgrade for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) fleet.

The scope of work, which will meet the Air Force interoperability needs under their new operational requirements, will mainly cover a retrofit package, which includes new and additional Communications Capabilities and Enhanced Mission Systems, bringing it up to the latest enhanced A330 MRTT standard.

Split across two contracts, Phase 1 will see Airbus carry out the design and systems development and integration ahead of the Critical Design Review maturity gate. Phase 2 will see Airbus install and deliver a prototype KC-30 aircraft (the name used by the RAAF to the A330 MRTT) for use in the certification and qualification process, ahead of finalizing and supplying the modification kits for entire fleet. Subsequent retrofit to the remainder of the fleet will be under customer responsibility.

In addition, Airbus will provide the necessary data packs and support to ensure this upgrade features in the existing RAAF A330 MRTT Full Flight Simulator (FFS), the Integrated Procedures Trainer (IPT) and the Remote Air Refuelling Operator (RARO) Console Part Task trainer (PTT).

The objective of the upgrade is to provide an affordable solution which brings the RAAF KC-30A fleet up to Airbus’ world class quality and capability standards and meets the latest interoperability requirements for the Australian Defence Force and its allies...."

GRAPHIC: https://airbus-h.assetsadobe2.com/is/im ... &qlt=100,0

Source: https://www.airbus.com/newsroom/press-r ... fleet.html
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Unread post15 Oct 2020, 16:01

Australia’s 30th F-35 arrives before IOC
Nov 2020 AFM

"THE ROYAL Australian Air Force (RAAF) accepted delivery of its 30th Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II in September, and the type is expected to achieve initial operating capability (IOC) this December.

RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales, is home to the F-35A’s No 3 squadron and the No 2 Operational Conversion Unit. The RAAF is converting from a fleet of McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Hornets to the Lightning II. Williamtown has an F-35 simulator for the base’s Integrated Training Centre. In the 2016 Australian government defence white paper, it was stated that the RAAF would receive 72 F-35A aircraft by 2023 to meet the planned final operating capability deadline, three years after the expected IOC....

...Pre-acceptance testing of each example involves multiple checks on the production line at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Texas and several flight tests from the same site. [F-35A air vehicle lead Squadron Leader Brook] Porter said that an in-depth acceptance process ensured that each F-35A was ready for Australian defence registration and operational use...."

Source: Air Forces Monthly Magazine November 2020 Issue 392
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Unread post18 Oct 2020, 21:07

Joint training makes Australia’s F-35 mission fully operational
17 Oct 2020 Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder, 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

"...The Royal Australian Air Force returned a majority of its F-35A Lightning II pilots, maintainers and aircraft to RAAF Base Williamtown, Australia, in December 2019, but still maintains a joint pilot-training and maintenance presence here. RAAF Maj. [wears what looks like Squadron Leader STRIPES to me in photo below] Christopher Baker, 61st Fighter Squadron instructor pilot and graduate of the F-35A pilot training program at Luke AFB, attests to the importance of the training partnership between the U.S. Air Force and the RAAF. He explained it is extremely rewarding to reinvest and train both nationalities in the same aircraft with the same tactics....

...“I am continually amazed at how the students learn so quickly,” Baker said. “They come in the door knowing very little or nothing about the F-35 and four or five months later, they're flying high-end large force-employment exercise missions with multiple aircraft involved in a dense surface-to-air missile threat scenario.”

The chances of the RAAF and the U.S. Air Force working together in a deployed environment is very likely according to Baker. “Most of the Australian pilots that have come through here at Luke (AFB) have worked with the U.S. Air Force before in the Middle East,” Baker said. “I don't think you'd meet many RAAF or U.S. Air Force pilots that haven't interacted with each other before in some capacity, either operationally or in an exercise somewhere.”

The RAAF and U.S. Air Force student pilots complete the same nine-month undergraduate training course where pilots learn how to operate and employ the F-35. Australian and U.S. instructor pilots lead the training during courses, said [U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Tom Hayes, 61st FS commander]....

...Baker explained that the RAAF established one operational and one training F-35A squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown and plans to establish another operational squadron in January 2021. As of October 2020, five RAAF F-35s are assigned to the 61st FS. The first F-35 was delivered to RAAF Base Williamtown in 2018 and the 30th F-35 is scheduled to return to Australia by December 2020. Seventy-two F-35s are ordered and the last one is projected to be delivered to Australia by 2024.

Baker said the RAAF is aiming to declare Initial Operational Capability – when a capability achieves its minimum threshold to support operations – by December 2020, ahead of the timeline. The RAAF’s first B-course for student pilot training is scheduled to launch in January 2021 and will be taught by instructor pilots who trained at Luke AFB.

In 2019, 34 fighter pilots were assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron and 17 were RAAF pilots. As of October 2020, there are five RAAF instructor pilots, seven student pilots and two maintainers who continue to execute the joint training partnership mission. Hayes says that Luke AFB will continue to maintain an alliance with the RAAF in the future through exchange programs...."

Photo: "Royal Australian Air Force Maj. Christopher Baker, 61st Fighter Squadron instructor pilot, and U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Tom Hayes, 61st FS commander, pose for a photo Sept. 9, 2020, at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. The U.S. Air Force has been strengthening alliances and partnerships by training F-35A Lightning II fighter pilots alongside the RAAF since 2014. All RAAF personnel are scheduled to return to RAAF Base Williamtown, Australia, by December 2020. The first B-course for the student pilots at RAAF Base Williamtown is projected to launch in January 2021 and will be taught by instructor pilots that trained at Luke AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)" https://media.defense.gov/2020/Oct/13/2 ... 1-1004.JPG (2.75Mb)


Source: https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display ... erational/
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Unread post05 Nov 2020, 20:32

RAAF Builds Out New Facilities to Support F-35 Force
04 Nov 2020 SLDinfo

"RAAF Base Williamtown is home to the tactical fighter element of the Air Combat Group and the Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) element of Surveillance and Response Group.

RAAF Base Williamtown is at the centre of a multimillion-dollar infrastructure modernisation and upgrade program in order to better support the arrival of the RAAF’s fleet of F-35A Joint Strike Fighters and other force multiplying capabilities, like the E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning, Command & Control aircraft.

Williamtown Redevelopment Stage 1 is worth $149 million, while the Aircraft Clear Water Rinse Facility is worth $3 million.

The Williamtown Redevelopment Stage 2 (2014 – 2019) is worth $219 million, which is supported by the New Air Combat Capability Works worth $679 million and a Runway Extension worth $200 million...." [is R/W paved with GOLD?!]

[More info on R/W extension than just increasing length: https://www.futurefocusproject.com.au/s ... /?cs=14732 ]
&
[ JOINT CASA AND RAAF AERONAUTICAL STUDY OF WILLIAMTOWN AIRSPACE October 2015 PDF 10Mb - Graphic:
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q ... YJtk1u3EsP ]

Source: https://sldinfo.com/2020/11/raaf-builds ... -35-force/
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Unread post05 Nov 2020, 22:52

RAAF Base Williamtown was established in 1941 in the local government area of Port Stephens. The base serves as the headquarters to both the Air Combat Group and the Surveillance and Response Group of the RAAF. The military base shares its runway facilities with Newcastle Airport. To accommodate the new F-35A Lightning Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft, the runway required extension by 610m to 3,048m (10,000ft).

https://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/E ... -extension
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Unread post05 Nov 2020, 23:07

The runway extension has been mentioned earlier in this thread and it is about 2,000 feet to about 10,000 feet overall. However this extra 'EXTENSION' does not cost the amount of dollars quoted in article from SLDinfo - there is more to it.

Good photo at the 'zhangmdev' link immediately above: https://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/s ... %20pic.jpg

Here is one link: viewtopic.php?f=58&t=23043&p=431267&hilit=runway#p431267
"Sixty-five million dollars is the asking price to upgrade Newcastle Airport's runway to a standard required for international aviation. It's an investment that would create 4500 jobs and generate an estimated $12.7 billion in economic benefits through international airfreight, industrial expansion and increased tourism traffic over the next two decades. But the clock is ticking on efforts to secure a benefactor for the project, which must coincide with Department of Defence plans to spend at least $120 million on maintenance and remediation works at the neighbouring RAAF base next year.

If the moment is not seized it is estimated the cost of upgrading the runway to international standard (Code E) as a standalone project would be $200 million. 23 Jul 2020 https://www.futurefocusproject.com.au/s ... sive-case/


The 'future projects' article mentions $65 million with RAAF HELP for Civilian UPgrades or $200 million otherwise. Sure it is confusing but FOR SURE just extending the runway by 2,000 feet approx. does not cost $200 million Oz Denyro
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Unread post05 Nov 2020, 23:40

Surely all those lawyers and bureaucrats playing with regulatory paperworks costs a lot of money.
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Unread post06 Nov 2020, 09:56

The Williamtown runway extension appears to be complete:
Works began on the runway in May 2015 to extend it from its current 2,438m to 3,048m in total, with the southeast runway being extended 340 metres, construction of a new taxiway, aircraft safety point and approach lighting...... The final aspect of the full runway extension involves extending the northwest runway with works ongoing and expected to be finished in mid 2017.

https://www.newsofthearea.com.au/raaf-b ... pens-16316

There are additional runway works that need to be completed including the option of upgrading (but presumably not lengthening) the runway to Code E to accomodate commercial wide body jets. The details of this additional work can be read here:
https://www.tenders.gov.au/Atm/ShowClos ... Mode=False

The $200 million cost estimate probably includes expansion of the airport terminal. See page 4 of this document:
https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/f ... HAMBER.pdf
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Unread post02 Dec 2020, 19:04

Game Changer 8)
https://www.skynews.com.au/details/_6159992283001
ADF's utilisation of Joint Strike Fighter combat planes 'will be a game changer'
28/05/2020|
Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin Aus and NZ Joe North says the Royal Australian Airforce's integration of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter combat planes will be "a game changer" and will provide a "transformational air fighting capability" to the nation.
The ADF will integrate at least 72 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters by 2023 in what will be a big investment that will provide huge value to the nation's defence force and national security.
While the extraordinary interoperability of the F-35 program is taking trust in the alliance between the United States and Australia to new and different heights.
"I just wish there was more we could tell Australians ... it's the best aircraft in the world," former Forcers Commander and Strategic Advisor Major General Fergus McLachlan told Sky News.
While Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said, "the Joint Strike Fighter is a great example of the new partnerships that Australia is engaging with around the world".
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Unread post02 Dec 2020, 19:05

Interesting things are written. 8) Difference between F/A-18E and F-35's Sensor Fusion, etc.
https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 37.article
RAAF F-35s on the rise Down Under
By Greg Waldron4 June 2020
The commanding officer of the first Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) squadron to operate the Lockheed Martin F-35 believes the type marks a step change.

Royal Australian Air Force Wing Commander Darren Clare at Luke AFB, Arizona
3 Sqn operates 12 F-35As out of the 17 examples permanently located in Australia. The other five are with the air force’s 2 Sqn operational conversion unit (OCU), also located at Williamtown. Canberra’s five other F-35As and seven instructors remain at Luke AFB, Arizona, where they are part of the F-35 programme’s international training effort.
Another four F-35As will be ferried to Australia sometime in late July. Ultimately, Canberra has plans to obtain 72 F-35s, which could eventually rise to 100.
According to Australia’s Department of Defence (DoD), its F-35s are cleared to employ a “suite of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons”. These include the Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9X, as well as laser- and GPS-guided bombs. Also cleared is the internally-mounted GAU-22 25mm cannon. Final operating capability will come when the RAAF has three operational units – also including its 75 and 77 squadrons – supported by the OCU. Overall, Australia’s F-35 fleet has flown over 6,500h.
Clare manages to get into the air with the F-35 about three times per week. Earlier in his career he flew both the Boeing F/A-18A/B “Classic” Hornet, and the F/A-18F Super Hornet. When asked about his favourite, he clearly has a soft spot for the original Hornet – which the F-35A is replacing – but appreciates the greater capability afforded by the new type.
“The Classic fits like a glove and is the one that I’ve put the most hours on,” he says. “But if I thought I was going to be heading into combat these days, I wouldn’t want to be in anything besides an F-35. It’s quite an amazing machine.”

Clare has high marks for the F-35’s handling characteristics. Some changes that require getting used to are using the helmet-mounted display as opposed to a head-up display, the different locations of various switches and buttons between Boeing and Lockheed jets, and adjusting the menus on the aircraft’s touchscreen display.
The move to the more capable, stealthy F-35A has involved some tactical changes. Operating the original Hornet placed a greater emphasis on the tactical formation, with activities such as operating sensors taking a more secondary role. And since not all the sensors were integrated, different pieces of information would reach the pilot from various origins, such as the radar, radar warning receiver, and sensors on other aircraft.
Clare says sensor integration improved when he moved to the Super Hornet, but has been fully realised on the F-35A. This means F-35s operate at a greater separation, with fused tactical information on one screen. The pilot does not necessarily know which sensor is producing a piece of information, but it is easy to find out if necessary.
“Changing to a stealthy aircraft sort of changes your mindset in tactics. When I grew up flying the classic Hornet, we’re basically shooting AIM-7 [air-to-air missiles] and dropping some laser-guided bombs and that was about it. Tactically [an F-35 pilot] is more a battlespace manager – rather than fighting in a phone booth. We do BFM [basic fighter manoeuvres] and dogfighting, but we obviously try not to get there in the first place. You’re managing your sensors, managing formation, and you’re managing your signatures. With the stealth aircraft, I can be in a position that I couldn’t be with my F-18 doing certain things, but I want to make sure that I don’t give the game away unnecessarily.”
The F-35’s datalinks are consistent with the RAAF’s “Plan Jericho” initiative to better connect platforms across the Australian military. Jericho was launched by former Air Marshal Geoff Brown in early 2015. Brown foresaw air force operations changing radically, relying on data from a range of platforms.

Another big change for pilots converting from the Hornet and Super Hornet is that the F-35 conducts air-to-air refuelling via a boom receptacle located on the upper fuselage behind the pilot. This differs from the F/A-18 family, which use the hose-and-drogue method with a refuelling arm located in the aircraft’s nose ahead and to the right of the cockpit.
“Previously I was in control,” he says. “The basket might have been moving around, but I was the one in control of when I was actually going to engage the basket, plug in and get the fuel. Once you’re in [the basket] it is easier to stay there.”
Boom refuelling requires carefully flying in formation with the tanker overhead. Still, RAAF crews are familiar with the new technique. Long delivery transits from the USA to Australia across the Pacific Ocean afford ample opportunities to practice air-to-air refuelling. “It requires a little bit more attention to stay in the right spot so the boom does not have to work too hard,” he says.
Clare dismisses a concern raised by some observers that the boom might accidently scratch the aircraft’s stealthy skin, which could theoretically compromise the type’s signature. He points out that the receptacle is located under “a couple of doors”, so while there could be metal-on-metal scratching from the boom connection, when the “doors close up you’re fine again”.
Considerable work has also gone into working with the RAAF’s three other premiere platforms: Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, and the Boeing E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft. Clare notes that since the RAAF is a relatively small air force it is easy to work with colleagues in other aircraft communities.
While the RAAF still has a strong presence at Luke AFB, shifting the majority of its training to Williamtown earlier this year changed the centre of gravity for the force’s F-35A activities. All maintenance training is now undertaken in Australia, and the pilot conversion course has already produced new pilots.

At Luke AFB, RAAF maintainers were able to observe and learn from Lockheed personnel working on the international fleet there. In Williamtown, RAAF personnel maintain the aircraft with support from Lockheed field representatives. Maintainers come not just from the Hornet community, but from the full range of types in the service’s inventory. Senior maintainers even have experience on legacy types such as the General Dynamics F-111, retired in 2010, and the Boeing 707 tanker, retired in 2008. This experience is backed up by the Lockheed team.
“Some of [the Lockheed personnel] have been on the programme for a long time and been at the factory at Fort Worth for quite a while, so they provide understanding of the system,” says Clare. “When my team’s got questions about a maintenance procedure, they receive expert advice.”
The Australian DoD acknowledges that there are challenges with the F-35 programme’s Autonomic Logistics Information System, but it is positive about the F-35 Joint Program Office’s plan to create the new Operational Data Integrated Network system. It feels this will simplify maintenance, be cheaper to maintain, and be easier to upgrade.
Clare stresses that Australia’s F-35A experience has been a profound team effort.
“We’ve done a lot of training and continue to do that,” he says. “We couldn’t do it without the support of all the other air force elements, as well as the contracting industry partners and the like. That’s really the key to the success of the F-35.”
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Unread post02 Dec 2020, 19:08

Australian Ambition. :shock: wow
https://www.defensenews.com/industry/te ... c-missile/
Australia, US partner on air-launched hypersonic missile
By: Nigel Pittaway 2020/11/30
MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia and the United States are partnering to develop and test an air-launched hypersonic cruise missile under the bilateral Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment program, or SCIFiRE, the two countries announced Monday.
From the U.S. perspective, the effort falls under the Allied Prototyping Initiative, which is managed by the Directorate of Advanced Capabilities within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.
The program will be executed by the U.S. Air Force under the auspices of the weapons program executive officer, and it will leverage more than 15 years of collaboration on research into scramjets, rocket motors, sensors and advanced manufacturing materials between the two countries.
The agreement follows discussions between former U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds during the bilateral Australia-US Ministerial Consultation talks held in Washington in July.
“SCIFiRE is a true testament to the enduring friendship and strong partnership between the United States and Australia,” Michael Kratsios, acting undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said in a statement. “This initiative will be essential to the future of hypersonic research and development, ensuring the US and our allies lead the world in the advancement of this transformational warfighting capability. We thank the Australian Department of Defence for their shared commitment to this game-changing effort.”
The SCIFIRE program will leverage the collaborative work undertaken in partnership with the Royal Australian Air Force, the Australian Defence Science and Technology Group, and the University of Queensland on the Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation program.
The new weapon will be a Mach 5-class precision strike missile that is propulsion-launched and powered by an air-breathing scramjet engine. It’s expected to enter service within the next five to 10 years.
The head of Air Force capability at the RAAF Headquarters in Canberra, Air Vice Marshal Catherine Roberts, said the weapon will be capable of being carried by tactical fighter aircraft such as the F/A-18F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and F-35A Lightning II, as well as the P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft.
Testing will take place in Australia, possibly at the Woomera Test Range in the remote outback of South Australia.
While no funding details have been released to date, Roberts said Australia’s recent Force Structure Plan 2020 included between AU$6.2 billion and AU$9.3 billion (U.S. $4.6 billion to U.S. $6.9 billion) for high-speed, long-range strike and missile defense capabilities, of which SCIFiRE is an example.
Though the RAAF is not currently seeking an industry prime to assist with the program, Roberts indicated that discussions with Australian small to medium enterprises will begin Friday.
“[The Australian Defence Science and Technology Group] has done some initial studies into our capabilities in Australia and we’re going to bring our industry partners on board. It’s not just a research and development initiative, we’re looking to actually field the capability,” she said.

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/ ... /?cs=14230
Australia to help develop hypersonic missiles
Andrew Tillett Political correspondent Dec 1, 2020
The Australian and US militaries will develop a new hypersonic missile capable of flying the distance between Sydney and Melbourne in seven minutes, amid an arms race with China and Russia.
The two governments will sign an agreement on Tuesday to collaborate on research, build and test hypersonic cruise missiles that can fly at five times the speed of sound and are able to sink an aircraft carrier.
Missiles the Royal Australian Air Force is helping to develop under the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE) could one day be fitted to the RAAF's strike aircraft including the F/A-18F Super Hornet and F-35 joint strike fighter. They could also be fitted to the P-8A Poseidon surveillance plane.
Local defence companies, particularly in the small and medium enterprises field, will be tapped to contribute to the project, which is expected to take between five and 10 years to bring a precision-guided missile to fruition.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said the experiment would culminate in flight tests to see how the weapon performed in operational conditions to guide on future acquisitions.
As part of the Morrison government's 2020 force structure plan, $9.3 billion was allocated for high-speed, long-range strike and missile defence including hypersonic development, in a bid to keep adversaries away from Australian shores.
Hypersonic weapons are widely regarded as the future of warfare because they offer little warning time and are almost impossible to intercept by missile shields – like trying to hit a bullet with a bullet.
Last year, China showcased what it claimed was a hypersonic missile at a military parade, while Russia boasted it had deployed nuclear-tipped hypersonic missiles capable of flying at 27 times the speed of sound.
Australia and the US have worked together for 15 years on research into hypersonic scramjets, rocket motors and sensors.
"Developing this game-changing capability with the United States from an early stage is providing opportunities for Australian industry," Senator Reynolds said.
"This demonstrates the Morrison government's commitment to strengthening Australia's sovereign defence industry while creating more high-tech Australian jobs and enhancing the ADF's self-reliance.
"Investing in capabilities that deter actions against Australia also benefits our region, our allies and our security partners."
US Defence Department acting undersecretary for research and engineering Michael Kratsios said the SCIFiRE partnership would ensure the US and its allies "lead the world in the advancement of this transformational warfighting capability".

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/ ... /?cs=14230
'Hypersonic' cruise missile could travel from Sydney to Melbourne in six minutes
Harley DennettHarley Dennett DECEMBER 1 2020
Australia and the United States will collaborate on air-launched hypersonic cruise missile prototypes that reach five times the speed of sound, faster than anything Australia has been involved in before.
The hypersonic weapons could be significantly lighter and smaller than regular air-launched cruise missiles and travel the distance between Melbourne and Sydney in around six or seven minutes.
Attached to existing aircraft like the Super Hornet, Growler, P-8 or F-35, hypersonic weapons could reach distances to project power across the region and substantially shift how Australia could respond to a threat.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds called the project a "game-changing capability" that enhances the ADF's self-reliance, and is built upon 15 years of research conducted in Australia and negotiations at the last AUSMIN forum.
"I am pleased to see this agreement come to fruition following my discussions with then Secretary Esper during my visit to the United States in July this year," she said.
"At AUSMIN, we acknowledge the unique role of our defence partnership to maintain our competitive edge, and affirm the value of bilateral collaboration on hypersonics. Investing in capabilities that deter actions against Australia also benefits our region, our allies and our security partners. We remain committed to peace and stability in the region, and an open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific."
The prototype agreement will be known as the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE), and builds on earlier hypersonic missile trials from Australian and US collaborations such as HIFIRE.
The US Department of Defence's acting undersecretary for research and engineering, Mr Michael Kratsios said SCIFiRE was a true testament to the relationship between the US and Australia, saying: "This initiative will be essential to the future of hypersonic research and development, ensuring the US and our allies lead the world in the advancement of this transformational war-fighting capability."
Further development and testing will be conducted in Australia, although which Defence weapons range will be used has not yet been selected.
Industry will be invited to contribute to both additional development and manufacturing of the project. Defence is holding its first industry briefing this Friday, with priority for work given to small and medium enterprises instead of a prime Defence contracting business.

https://adbr.com.au/adf-signs-hypersoni ... t-with-us/
ADF signs hypersonic missile development agreement with US
written by Max Blenkin December 1, 2020
The ADF has signed an agreement with the US to develop a prototype air-launched hypersonic missile able to hit a target such as an aircraft carrier at a speed in excess of Mach 5.
The Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCiFiRE) draws on 15 years of research on hypersonics by Australian defence scientists, universities, and industry. That includes actual launches and flight trials conducted under the HIFiRE program.
Through this work – some of which has been performed in conjunction with the US – Australia is regarded as a world leader in aspects of hypersonics technology such as scramjets and the field of hypersonic aero-thermodynamics for speeds greater than Mach 8.
Defence Minister Senator Linda Reynolds said the program aimed to reach the stage of flight testing of full-sized prototype missile to inform future acquisitions. “This demonstrates the Morrison government’s commitment to strengthening Australia’s sovereign defence industry while creating more high-tech Australian jobs and enhancing the Australian Defence Force’s self-reliance,” she said in a December 1 statement.
Hypersonic missiles are an emerging threat with both Russia and China claiming to have developed missiles able to travel at hypersonic speeds. Such missiles could carry nuclear warheads, and the challenge for a defender is to detect and respond in the very short time available.
The 2020 Defence Strategic Update warns that emerging and disruptive technologies will be rapidly translated into weapon systems such as sophisticated sensors, autonomous systems, and high-speed weapons, reducing decision times, and improving weapon precision and lethality.
The accompanying 2020 Force Structure Plan (FSP) says Defence will invest $6.2 to $9.3 billion into this research, starting next year and extending beyond 2020.
What has been proposed is an air-breathing missile able to be launched from an F/A-18F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, P-8A Poseidon, or F-35A Lightning II, be able to fly faster than Mach 5, and be capable of sinking an aircraft carrier.
“SCIFiRE is a true testament to the enduring friendship and strong partnership between the United States and Australia,” US Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Michael Kratsios said in a Pentagon release. “This initiative will be essential to the future of hypersonic research and development, ensuring the U.S. and our allies lead the world in the advancement of this transformational warfighting capability.”
RAAF Chief AIRMSHL Mel Hupfeld said, “The SCIFiRE initiative is another opportunity to advance the capabilities in our Air Combat Capability Program to support joint force effects to advance Australia’s security and prosperity. Working with our Defence scientists here in Australia and our partners in the US Air Force and across the US Department of Defense on leading edge capabilities brings out the best in our Air Force team.”
A senior Australian Defence official told media on November 30, “The strategic environment has really changed. The warning time is significantly less. There is a build-up of military forces in our region and we need to be able to keep them at bay as far away from Australia as we possibly can. This is all speed.
“This is really about turning this from a research project into a real capability,” the spokesperson added. “This is a very significant part of the sorts of things that we need to get into if we going to be a credible military force in the region.”
Defence will conduct an industry briefing on December 4 to assess what Australian firms can contribute to the research, development, and eventually manufacture of such missiles.
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Unread post19 Dec 2020, 05:44

Navy Awards Next Generation Jammer Low Band Contract
18 Dec 2020 Cindy Mattingly, PMA-234 Communications; NavAirSysCom

"NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md.--The U.S. Navy awarded a $496 million Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract to L3Harris Technologies on Dec. 18 to further the Next Generation Jammer Low Band (NGJ-LB) capability. The contract supports the final design efforts and manufacturing of eight operational prototype pods and four test pods that will be used for various levels of testing and fleet employment to include airworthiness, functionality, and integration with and carriage on the EA-18G Growler host aircraft.

The contract award announcement from Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) Program Office (PMA-234), the managing office for product acquisition, comes directly on the heels of NGJ-LB entering the EMD acquisition phase, often referred to as Milestone B (MS B).

“I’m proud of the hard work and determination of the Navy and industry team,” said James Geurts, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition. “The teams work to reduce development risk, inform technology realities, and speed capabilities to the fleet was impressive. The efforts by all those involved enabled the Navy to move forward in a rapid manner to bring this new critical capability to bear for our warfighters, saving years in operational development.”

Geurts signed the MS B Acquisition Decision Memorandum Dec. 8, signifying his satisfaction with NGJ-LB’s proposed cost, schedule and performance intentions.

The program embarked on a Demonstration of Existing Technologies in late 2018, which informed technical maturity of capabilities. Originally the program was approved as a Middle Tier Acquisition Program due to the need for speed to fleet, but changes in policy mandated that the Navy rapidly move the program to a Major Defense Acquisition Program.

“The program did a great job of overcoming all the obstacles that this transition laid in front of them,” said Geurts. “Really a herculean effort that I’m honestly proud to have been part of.”

“NGJ-LB is the next step in the evolution of Airborne Electronic Attack that is needed to meet current and emerging electronic warfare gaps,” said Rear Adm. Shane Gahagan, Program Executive Officer, Tactical Aircraft Programs. “The increased jamming capability that NGJ-LB brings to the warfighter is critical to sustaining the future missions of the Navy and other services.”

NGJ-LB is an external jamming pod that will address advanced and emerging threats using the latest digital, software-based array technologies and will provide enhanced AEA capabilities to disrupt, deny and degrade enemy air defense and ground communication systems.

“Our AEA arsenal continues to expand with the NGJ-LB capability,” said Capt. Michael Orr, PMA-234 program manager. “With the NGJ-LB EMD contract award, we continue our focus on delivering the warfighter an unsurpassed capability.”

NGJ-LB is part of a larger NGJ weapon system that will augment, and ultimately replace the legacy ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System pods in the low frequency spectrum currently used on the Growler. The weapons system is a joint program initiative with Australia."

Source: https://www.navair.navy.mil/news/Navy-A ... 82020-1730
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Unread post23 Dec 2020, 01:20

L3Harris scores award for Navy’s Next Generation Jammer
22 Dec 2020 Mark Pomerleau

"...[NGJ] will replace the ALQ-99 jamming pod and has been broken up into three pods covering three portions of the electromagnetic spectrum: mid, low and high. The Navy awarded the mid-band pod to Raytheon in 2016. In 2018, the Navy awarded contracts to Northrop Grumman and L3 Technologies to demonstrate existing systems as a means of buying down risk on the eventual program and awardee. The timeline and funding for a high-band post is unclear at this time.

Officials have said not all three will be integrated on aircraft at once.

The Navy, in a Dec. 18 announcement, said the contract supports the final design and manufacturing of eight operational prototype pods with four test pods to work through issues such as airworthiness and integration on the Growler....

...Geurts [James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition] signed a decision memorandum on Dec. 8 certifying the low band program Milestone B, which is the official start of the program...."


Source: https://www.c4isrnet.com/electronic-war ... on-jammer/
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