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View Full Version : F-35: wise spending of our dollars?


FOI
21st Jul 2018, 02:55
Latest price-tag of our inbound F-35 fighter jets is 119.5M AUD per airframe with 72 on firm with 28 optioned; PM stated 17B budgeted with all-up purchase and running costs 24B AUD.

Canada has purchased our F-18 “Classics”.

We are a nation of 24M people, geographically sound with respect to genuine threat.
Bearing in mind past disastrous Defence spend (Collins Class Submarine / RAN Helicopter), are we allowing our government to bury the struggling Australian tax payer even further into misery with these “nice to have” big power nation type purchases?

junior.VH-LFA
21st Jul 2018, 03:03
Italy, UK, Netherlands, Norway, Japan, Turkey and Israel are also F-35 operators. I don't think Australia is stretching beyond it's means to join that exclusive club.

Yournamehere
21st Jul 2018, 03:27
Anecdotally, the F-111 suffered strikingly similar set backs and criticisms leading up to its entry into service and look how that panned out.

FOI
21st Jul 2018, 03:31
Anecdotally, the F-111 suffered strikingly similar set backs and criticisms leading up to its entry into service and look how that panned out.

Yes indeed. A age old bomber that had such poor dispatch reliability that when conflict finally arose, we couldn’t send it anywhere.
Great airshow crowd pleaser though.

FOI
21st Jul 2018, 03:38
Italy, UK, Netherlands, Norway, Japan, Turkey and Israel are also F-35 operators. I don't think Australia is stretching beyond it's means to join that exclusive club.

Exclusive it is. Per capita we sit as number 8 in the world for overall defence spending, a top 10 spot for a peaceful nation with our geographical separation?
I’d be interested to see where this order puts us.

Lookleft
21st Jul 2018, 03:42
So what is the alternative to the F-35? The Yanks won't let anyone else have the F-22 and you buy a European aircraft with all the political strings attached about where you can use it. i.e. the French wouldn't provide spares for the Mirage if it was used in Vietnam. If we can offset the cost of the F-35s by sending old F-18s to Canada then thats a great deal.

FOI
21st Jul 2018, 03:43
To broaden the scope slightly. I’d suggest that given the lead in time it takes for the development of such technology, is there a risk here that the “manned fighter jet” is soon to be redundant?
A serious question given this degree of “investment”.

FOI
21st Jul 2018, 03:48
So what is the alternative to the F-35? The Yanks won't let anyone else have the F-22 and you buy a European aircraft with all the political strings attached about where you can use it. i.e. the French wouldn't provide spares for the Mirage if it was used in Vietnam. If we can offset the cost of the F-35s by sending old F-18s to Canada then thats a great deal.

“Great Deal?” - 18 airframes for 500M USD. Great deal for Canada 🇨🇦 alright!
I’d be asking that if Canada sees value in our F18’s, why did we feel the need to offload them?
Canada’s GDP per capita is similar to ours.

Dont forget, this F-35 order is on top our recent 24 F18 Super Hornet purchase (a cheeky 10B). How much “cutting edge” defence technology does one small country need?

junior.VH-LFA
21st Jul 2018, 04:17
“Great Deal?” - 18 airframes for 500M USD. Great deal for Canada ���� alright!
I’d be asking that if Canada sees value in our F18’s, why did we feel the need to offload them?
Canada’s GDP per capita is similar to ours.

Dont forget, this F-35 order is on top our recent 24 F18 Super Hornet purchase (a cheeky 10B). How much “cutting edge” defence technology does one small country need?


Great deal for Canada? You realise these jets are over 30 years old right... the only reason they want them is to extend the life of their Hornet fleet while they desperately scramble to correct a political error with regards to their own procurement of the JSF. It's a stop gap solution only, as the Hornet has well and truly reached end of its usable life, particularly in terms of airframe fatigue.

Given your tone, no amount of reasoned argument is going to work on someone who clearly doesn't see a need for defence spending. Suffice to say, history is perhaps the greatest teacher here and others thankfully know better.

FOI
21st Jul 2018, 04:51
Why did we not just extend the F-18 Super Hornet order proportionately to our needs?
Clearly a highly versatile platform (with two engines) that we already have significant IP and investment.

Lookleft
21st Jul 2018, 07:50
The Super Hornet was only purchased to fill in for the F-111 that was retired earlier than planned. If you think that the RAAF is only going to be involved in wars that only require strike missions against poorly equipped caliphates then your argument is valid. If the potential exists for peer to peer wars against states equipped with 5th gen fighters then equipping the RAAF with more Hornets is equivalent to using the Wirraway as a frontline fighter in 1941.

PoppaJo
21st Jul 2018, 08:11
Four Corners ran a story on this 5 years ago. Worth a look.

Reach for the Sky - Four Corners (http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/reach-for-the-sky/4526982)

gulliBell
21st Jul 2018, 08:29
Why did we not just extend the F-18 Super Hornet order proportionately to our needs?

Exactly. There's going to be a bit of hand-wringing when the first F35 goes splat after its only engine goes kaboom. There will be loses due to engine failure, that wouldn't happen in a Super Hornet, for sure.

ftrplt
21st Jul 2018, 08:36
Exactly. There's going to be a bit of hand-wringing when the first F35 goes splat after its only engine goes kaboom. There will be loses due to engine failure, that wouldn't happen in a Super Hornet, for sure.

https://australianaviation.com.au/2018/01/raaf-growler-catches-fire-after-nellis-afb-takeoff-incident/

Double ejection if airborne.

ruprecht
21st Jul 2018, 09:18
.. if airborne.

..which it wasn’t.

How owe many of our Hornets have we lost to mechanical failure?

*disclaimer* I already know the answer. :8

...and how many have landed on one engine?

I dont know know that one. :)

ftrplt
21st Jul 2018, 10:40
How owe many of our Hornets have we lost to mechanical failure?

depends if you call a Growler a Hornet

Bula
21st Jul 2018, 10:56
Better spent on cool jets rather than polli pay increases and consultancy fees.

but seriously? Its a generational step and the classics are old, end of life.

The decisions been made. At least, for a country with a tiny defence force, we have spent the money on “5th Generation” capabilities.

now if we only had fuel and missiles should a conflict erupt. 🙄

Keg
21st Jul 2018, 11:40
Hasn’t engine technology improved significantly from the early ‘80s? If we can now carry the same pax on two that we used to on four I presume that similarly the reliability and efficiency of combat aircraft engines has rendered the ‘must have two engines’ argument obsolete? How many Hawks have we lost due to a failure of their one engine? How many PC9s?

Not claiming anything, just wondering.

davidclarke
21st Jul 2018, 12:04
Hasn’t engine technology improved significantly from the early ‘80s? If we can now carry the same pax on two that we used to on four I presume that similarly the reliability and efficiency of combat aircraft engines has rendered the ‘must have two engines’ argument obsolete? How many Hawks have we lost due to a failure of their one engine? How many PC9s?

Not claiming anything, just wondering.

Agreed.
Problem is while an engine failure on a training aircraft is unacceptable, however is a manageable risk. An engine failure on a combat aircraft over enemy territory....that’s another question.

Australopithecus
21st Jul 2018, 12:29
In the eighties it was Canadian Defence Force policy to buy only twin engine fighters, given the hostile terrain in the Arctic, where any forseeable country defence would be fought. Both the F-20 and F-16 were disqualified on that basis alone.

The Canadian purchase of our Hornets is like our Sea Sprite deal...good money for museum pieces.

NATO countries might have a valid argument about fifth generation fighters given the threats in any forseeable theatre. Since Trump I think the F-35 might make sense, since the Calvary might not answer the phone. But buying a platform without a robust supply of ready munitions is the definition of cynical political malfeasance.

Despite all of the foregoing, does anyone think that the world will ever again see a huge set-piece conventional battle? No one can play armour+infantry against the west, nor can they do blue-water navy fleet action. In no category,in fact, except suicidal fanatic can I imagine wholesale effective resistance to the west. (As it is currently constituted-my position may change next week after the next Twitter storm)

donpizmeov
21st Jul 2018, 12:32
Must be why no-one operates the F16 then .oh wait there......

Iron Bar
21st Jul 2018, 12:33
FFS What is this Carlo Kopp rubbish?

Modern battle plan and strategic doctrine (and that of our allies) is based on information, communication and coordination.

Combined services and elements acting together to achieve your tactical and strategic goals.

F35 + P8 + Wedge-tail (and Triton) is a huge part of that equation. Can't do it with any other type that is available or interoperable with allies. That's before the political and geo-political advantages / realities are considered.

Is it still school holidays somewhere?

Australopithecus
21st Jul 2018, 12:53
Iron Bar, at whom was your spray aimed?

Also...can you expand on "strategic goals" as an element of DF capability? Given the dearth of actual strategic capability? Also, assuming the most likely of threats, can you also comment on a current fighter such as the (say) F-15 teamed with the ASW/AWACS/JSTARS platforms?

Iron Bar
21st Jul 2018, 13:06
Spray?

- Steategic goals. Whatever the government of the day determines. That is, or has been support to our major ally in several theaters and regional stabilization to our North. (Effective support to major ally negates the need for strategic capability in the sense I think you are referring)

F15 doesn't have the sensor and communication capabilities of F35. As far as I know F15 no longer in production?

-

Heathrow Harry
21st Jul 2018, 13:06
"Italy, UK, Netherlands, Norway, Japan, Turkey and Israel are also F-35 operators."

To be pedantic they are the one's who've ordered it - only Israel apparently has done any combat flying with them - they could all cancel but most likely will reduce their order book

The RAAF needs range rather than stealth I'd have thought................

Roller Merlin
21st Jul 2018, 13:12
Look at the last Red Flag results. F35 knocked down almost all their adversaries, before they were seen/encountered....then ran away. That’s how it is designed.

Australopithecus
21st Jul 2018, 13:30
Spray?

- Steategic goals. Whatever the government of the day determines. Right now support to our major ally in several theaters and regional stabilization to our North. (Effective support to major ally negates the need for strategic capability in the sense I think you are referring)

F15 doesn't have the sensor and communication capabilities of F35. As far as I know F15 no longer in production?

-









I don!t know if the F-15 line is still running, actually. On that basis I guess the question is moot. If you need a new fighter then you have we to buy fifth generation. And that really means, given realpolitik, the F-35.

Strategic: When I was a boy that meant the Westinghouse W-63. It probably still does in whatever the current version.

Anyway... I think the Chinese discovered that you don't need to invade anywhere if you have time and money.

Buster Hyman
21st Jul 2018, 16:13
As far as I know F15 no longer in production?

Boeing still offering developments of it.

https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.gmforum.com-vbulletin/621x414/boeing_f15x_1200_d41814445fe8d4e14ee2e2466fb5aa1408309c66.jp g

https://www.military.com/dodbuzz/2018/07/19/boeing-pitches-f-15x-fighter-concept-us-air-force-report.html

SARF
21st Jul 2018, 21:18
In the eighties it was Canadian Defence Force policy to buy only twin engine fighters, given the hostile terrain in the Arctic, where any forseeable country defence would be fought. Both the F-20 and F-16 were disqualified on that basis alone.

The Canadian purchase of our Hornets is like our Sea Sprite deal...good money for museum pieces.

NATO countries might have a valid argument about fifth generation fighters given the threats in any forseeable theatre. Since Trump I think the F-35 might make sense, since the Calvary might not answer the phone. But buying a platform without a robust supply of ready munitions is the definition of cynical political malfeasance.

Despite all of the foregoing, does anyone think that the world will ever again see a huge set-piece conventional battle? No one can play armour+infantry against the west, nor can they do blue-water navy fleet action. In no category,in fact, except suicidal fanatic can I imagine wholesale effective resistance to the west. (As it is currently constituted-my position may change next week after the next Twitter storm)

no one can play against the West due to American military might with some U.K. and French back up..
if that means sucking it up and buying the USA’s new toy then tough. Or of course any country could gomit alone

AerialPerspective
21st Jul 2018, 22:43
Yes indeed. A age old bomber that had such poor dispatch reliability that when conflict finally arose, we couldn’t send it anywhere.
Great airshow crowd pleaser though.

propaganda. It could fly further and faster than anything we have now. It had an endless stream of cheap parts and it’s value was as a deterrent with a former Indonesians Defense officer admitting he had said in meetings with his President many times “We should not provoke the Australians, do you one they have a fleet of aircraft that could put a bomb through the window of this building before we even knew it was here”.
so much of the modernvweaponry and it could carry and deliver the lot... F-35 can’t even carry a bunker buster. It was a stupid and ideological decision to retire them. The so called failure in a test rig at DSTO used as an excuse was later found to have been incorrectly set up to the point that it subjected the component to 10 times normal flight stresses. That’s like loading a 747-400 with 4,000 tons then saying it has a compromised structure when it collapses.

AerialPerspective
21st Jul 2018, 22:51
no one can play against the West due to American military might with some U.K. and French back up..
if that means sucking it up and buying the USA’s new toy then tough. Or of course any country could gomit alone

yeh, except for all we know in his secret meeting President Baboon probably gave Putin a file with all of the US’ defense technology on it in exchange for the pee tape... he was certainly crawling up the dictators arse like Edmond ascending Everest during the press conference after spending a week denigrating and spreading lies about NATO and those French, et al ‘allies’. The United States Senate voted last week 98 to 0 to stop him from sending United States’ citizens to be ‘interviewed’ by Putin’s people... the very thought he considers that “... a wonderful offer” shows how historically, diplomatically, strategically, intellectually and reality deprived he is and why the United States cannot be relied on while they have a brain damaged chimp as their Head of State and Government who’s ego is more important than committing the occasional act of treason.

Lookleft
22nd Jul 2018, 01:29
no one can play against the West due to American military might with some U.K. and French back up..

Very true (although I wouldn't rely on the French), but it doesn't mean they won't try to. The Chinese have made no secret of their desire to take back Taiwan. All they need is some hint that the West will not defend it and they will be in there quicker than you can say 9 dash line.

Eaglet
22nd Jul 2018, 04:38
Must admit, I'm a bit of an F-35 skeptic. Remember reading an article a while ago where a question was put to a US military expert about an F-16 being able to out-dofight an F-35. He answered "you're missing the point", an F-35 will be able to shoot down the enemy with over-the-horizon missiles hence it's kind of irrelevent if the F-35 can dogfight or words to that effect. Kind of reminds me of American attitudes with the cannon-less F-4 phantoms going into the Vietnam war citing only missiles were needed in modern day dogfighting. Of course they had to subsequently fit F-4s with cannons after realizing inferior MiG-17s were putting up a good fight(of course there were other factors too).
Anyway for the sake our tax-dollars I really hope I'm wrong.

Rated De
22nd Jul 2018, 05:39
Does an F35 scare the 'adversary' while sitting collecting dust on static display?

Jim Molan, former military chief turned Liberal senator, issues stark warning over defence capabilities - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-04/jim-molan-issues-stark-warning-over-adf-capabilities/9303810)

stormfury
22nd Jul 2018, 07:36
The Chinese have made no secret of their desire to take back Taiwan. All they need is some hint that the West will not defend it and they will be in there quicker than you can say 9 dash line.Or something to stoke nationalistic sentiment during an economic downturn.

aviation_enthus
22nd Jul 2018, 11:30
First off a comment on Carlo Kopp. I would agree that he had an incredible bias for the F-111, it was pretty clear he thought that was the one and only solution to Australia's problems. Putting all that aside, his other articles about China, Hardened Aircraft Shelters, Indonesia and others were quite interesting. It was many years ago he pointed out (I'm sure others have too) the inadequacies in RAAF logistics planning, lo and behold the last White Paper finally pointed out all the holes in the logistics chain for the ADF!

The ADF and Government have been masters at equipping our military 'for but not with'. By that I mean they might have a ANZAC Frigate but it hasn't been regularly upgraded with new sensors or anti missile defences to enable them to participate in high intensity conflict. Whoever is driving the more recent acquisitions is taking the ADF in the right direction. If there's one good thing that's come out of East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan, it's that the Government finally realised they need to properly equip the ADF!!

The F-111 was a great aircraft for Australia, I would almost say it was perfect. Even in 2008 it was a formidable adversary for the F/A-18's to chase down. I spoke to a fighter pilot in Katherine and asked him specifically about it. He said if the F-111 guys figured out they were being targeted before the F/A-18's got close, they just lit up the afterburners and outran them. But like all good things, they must come to an end. There is no direct replacement for the F-111 so we must pick from what is available.

Basically Australia only had the choice of American equipment. First off anything European has political implications given we are generally at war as partners of the USA. Plus something like the Eurofighter doesn't have a clear upgrade path. The different partners are developing their own modifications, which would mean Australia would have to do the same thing instead of being able to buy it off the shelf for US equipment. The F-15 is old, yes they still build them new, yes they are still capable, but we are talking about a 40 year old design. An aircraft that various hostile powers (China, Russia, etc) have developed weapons and tactics to defeat. In the next 20 years the weapons capable of taking down an F-15 is only going to increase and leave that aircraft vulnerable.

The F-22 is not for sale. So that leaves the F-35. Should we be buying a fighter with two engines? Yes! (The RAAF had the same requirement as Canada when they bought the F/A-18) But we can't, so lets move on from that issue. The F-35 has stealth, from the front mainly. There's the first advantage over anything except the F-22. If the other guy can't see you how can they attack you? Is it as good in a dogfight as an F-15 or Su-30? Probably not but if the F-35 gets the first shot (because of the stealth and networked information), there's more chance they'll win. The networking features are the game changer here. The Super Hornet is partway there but the F-35 has it built in from the start. Why is this important? Look at the 1982 Israeli campaign against Syria. They used the first example of networked information to achieve air superiority. Again if the F-35 receives information without having to turn on radars etc they can engage the enemy when THEY decide. In war information is always the key.

"Know the other, know yourself. And the victory will not be at risk. Know the ground, know the natural conditions. And the victory can be total." - Sun Tzu

Australia also needs a strike capability. When the F-15 was first designed it didn't have this ability, much like the F-22 today. The F-35 has this ability. We need the capability of striking maritime targets off our coast.

As for the argument of whether we should even spend the money on a defence force to begin with, I'll leave you with this thought. The German Luftwaffe went from zero to beginning WW2 in 6 years, plus some prior illegal training in the early 30's. So if it takes a focused dictatorship 6+ years to create a credible Air Force capable of waging war, how long do you think it would take a dithering democracy? 10 years? 15 years? Do you think any Australian Government is capable of seeing a credible threat that far out? I don't think so...

There's a story of an RAAF Officer that was given the mission to determine how best to defend Australia in the 1920's. In summary his answer was the threat will come from the north, most likely through Darwin and we need XX number of squadrons to defend the country. He was effectively laughed out of the room and denied any further promotions for such 'preposterous' rubbish!! I think he was in Darwin when the bombs fell in 1942... (I'm sure I've read a book about this guy, anyone know it?)

"Only the dead have seen the end of war" - Plato

imperial shifter
22nd Jul 2018, 11:55
Can anyone explain to me why we require aircraft to defend the land mass of Australia? Serious question. An aircraft is just a platform to launch fancy artillery. We've got a massive launch platform already. Why not just invest in developing or procuring advanced missile defense systems? The F35 is just a US cash cow. We don't need it.

Rated De
22nd Jul 2018, 11:57
Probably a good idea to ban political donations and 'glorious foundations'

Also probably wise to have sufficient fuel in a 'strategic fuel reserve'

PDR1
22nd Jul 2018, 12:04
Can anyone explain to me why we require aircraft to defend the land mass of Australia? Serious question. An aircraft is just a platform to launch fancy artillery. We've got a massive launch platform already. Why not just invest in developing or procuring advanced missile defense systems? The F35 is just a US cash cow. We don't need it.

You are Duncan Sandys and I claim my £5...

PDR

cooperplace
22nd Jul 2018, 12:11
“Great Deal?” - 18 airframes for 500M USD. Great deal for Canada 🇨🇦 alright!
I’d be asking that if Canada sees value in our F18’s, why did we feel the need to offload them?
Canada’s GDP per capita is similar to ours.

Dont forget, this F-35 order is on top our recent 24 F18 Super Hornet purchase (a cheeky 10B). How much “cutting edge” defence technology does one small country need?don't forget that Canada, with its nearness to the US, can rely on the US much more than we can.
Many years ago I read in one the Jane's books on military strategy that the obvious thing for China to do in the future would be to invade Australia. We need a strong military.

aviation_enthus
22nd Jul 2018, 16:49
Can anyone explain to me why we require aircraft to defend the land mass of Australia? Serious question. An aircraft is just a platform to launch fancy artillery. We've got a massive launch platform already. Why not just invest in developing or procuring advanced missile defense systems? The F35 is just a US cash cow. We don't need it.


The British had exactly this idea back in 1957. Google ‘1957 Statement on Defence’. Long story short it didn’t work.

Yes that was over 50 years ago BUT I would argue a SAM system is no substitute for a fighter aircraft. Recent missile attacks on Saudi Arabia have been intercepted by US made Patriot missile defence systems. Plenty of news stories out there that they fail or missed a lot of incoming ballistic missiles. There’s even videos on YouTube.

And again I will refer to the experience of Israel. They completely destroyed a well set out SAM defence in Syria in 1982. At the time it contained arguably the best Russian equipment money could buy and it was set up by the Russians (so it should have worked properly).

The only other thing to add is a fighter aircraft can loiter with intent and provide a threat without actually releasing any weapons. It provides a ‘step up’ in threat level so to speak. Pure missile defence doesn’t. It’s either ON or OFF ie war or peace. I’ll think you’ll find the world can have many shades of grey!

Heathrow Harry
22nd Jul 2018, 18:08
With a combat radius of about 1400 kms you can't even reach Bali from Darwin.......................... Ambon - yes

It's a lot of money to spend on something with short legs IMHO

Maggie Island
22nd Jul 2018, 22:39
Bit odd for us to be calling for alternate options when we’re already committed to the aircraft, particularly when we’ve already accepted deliveries. Either way, the horse has well and truly bolted - unless the voting public completely loses the plot and votes in the Greens I daresay we will eventually exercise all our options and wind up receiving 100 F35s.

Rated De
22nd Jul 2018, 23:30
Many years ago I read in one the Jane's books on military strategy that the obvious thing for China to do in the future would be to invade Australia. We need a strong military.

One might want to read, Professor Clive Hamilton's book "Silent Invasion". This book details the Chinese 'influence' already apparent in the antipodes. It was dropped by two publishers (wonder why) before being published.
Grubs like Sam Dastyari, given refuge from a supposedly tyrannical regime, promptly sold out his protector and he wasn't the only one....

The Chinese didn't need to fire a bullet.

slats11
23rd Jul 2018, 02:59
"Si vis pacem, para bellum" If you want peace, prepare for war. This quote has been around for a long time. The Latin version comes from a text written in 4th century. 1000 years earlier, Plato had similar advice.

Similarly if you want war, assume peace.

The F35 is not designed to dogfight. Form follows function. Three important forms of the F35 are
Reasonably stealthy
An impressive sensor suite
An advanced date link to share information (bidirectional) to create unprecedented battle space awareness. Note Lockheed is prime contractor for F35 and also SBIRS (space based IR system). SBIRS scans the Earths surface every 10 seconds. It was almost certainly SIBRS that tracked the missile that shot down MH17. It has been rumoured that SBIRs can track jet exhaust - certainly the US has been working on this capability for decades (Project SLOW WALKER if interested - http://xbradtc2.com/2015/01/02/the-backfire-and-project-slow-walker/. )

Anyway, the F35 is not designed to dogfight, and it is not designed to operate alone. It is designed to operate with other assets such as missile frigates and other aircraft. So one capability (demonstrated in recent exercises) is for the F35 is to provide information to a (possibly coalition) missile frigate - both initial target selection plus en route guidance. All while remaining invisible.

Back at the time the Aust government went with the F35 (2002, 9/11, War on Terror), it seemed a safe bet that our military would always be operating with the USA. So inter-operability with US assets was seen as an advantage. This is still likely to be true, although we are living in less certain times.

There were several compromises with F35
1. Multiple versions to share development costs over a larger base of future customers
2. Single engine to keep size and cost down

There were no valid contenders.
The F22 is not for export sale.
Other US aircraft were obsolete (yes, Canada can probably get by with legacy F18 and rely on USA, but Australia is in a different situation).
Europe doesn't have anything 5th generation. 10 5th generation aircraft in development, not one of them Eurpean
China and Russia didn't seem particularly reliable sources of our future fighters

So what other choice was there?

Mk 1
23rd Jul 2018, 05:28
With a combat radius of about 1400 kms you can't even reach Bali from Darwin.......................... Ambon - yes

It's a lot of money to spend on something with short legs IMHO

Which is why we have air to air refuelling assets - ones with booms.

Mk 1
23rd Jul 2018, 05:46
First off a comment on Carlo Kopp. I would agree that he had an incredible bias for the F-111, it was pretty clear he thought that was the one and only solution to Australia's problems.

Copp and Goon were pushing the F111 barrow because they thought that their proposal to government to modernise the F111's should have been taken more seriously. It involved turfing out the TF33's to fit modern F110's etc, new digital avionics etc. Better availability, faster, less fuel use, longer range (take your pick) less maintenance etc. When you start having a cold hard look at what they were proposing for the 'Superpig' (because it theoretically would supercruise on dry thrust) - essentially it was almost a complete redesign of not only the structure but everything in or on the airframe. And if you thought the amount of money spent on the F-35's was a lot - can you imagine tthe cost of having to go it alone converting and certifying 24 airframes to this standard. General Dynamics (is it even still around) would turn pale at the idea let alone the risk of spending lots and then realising it was not possible. There were all sorts of other questions around fatigue, lack of 5th gen stealthy characteristics etc. Way too much risk, super slim margin of reward and costs through the roof. It didn't stop Copp and Goon from spreading the largest amount of disinformation and negative publicity about the F35 in order to advance their cause though.

Its funny, of course its probably easy for the critics to point the the basic kinematic performance of the airframe and scream that its not as fast as an F-104 Starfighter from the 1950's etc etc. What people who know, the people who develop and fly the aircraft cannot say for obvious security reasons is that it has technical advances that make these basic kinematic deficiencies moot (at least - that's the bet that it does). Its either the most expensive case of the 'Kings new clothes' or it will do what is says on the box. The fact that the security of the West is dependant on its success, and the results from Red Flag seem to indicate its a better bet than the critcs whinge about.

Gnadenburg
23rd Jul 2018, 05:53
Kudos to the RAAF, they have built towards the most capable air force for its size in the world, coming ahead in leaps and bounds over the last decade and a bit. There has been a deliberate Douhet like investment in airpower by government, and if it wasn't for the failures of naval procurement in the 90's, I'd suggest there would be a lot more confidence in the ADF in meeting high end warfare threats regionally. Yes, the F35 is the biggest piece of the jigsaw puzzle at the moment, but if it delivers, with the rest of the RAAF's advanced capabilities, Australia is well placed to face current and emerging threats in the region. It is also structured to make meaningful contributions to allied expeditionary operations, where and when, we decide to spread democracy to dysfunctional regions of the world. ;-)

One area of vulnerability facing Australia, is a RAAF so capable, adversaries in whatever shape or form, look toward asymmetric warfare. It would be a mistake not to assume China would look at vulnerabilities as diverse as cyber warfare, bases, tankers, fuel etc.

The cliche references to WW2 and the F35 are actually in favour of current RAAF strategy. Though the links tenuous, if you go back to the late thirties and Australia's disastrous strategic position, consider the RAAF now. If it were 1939 instead of Wirraways in Darwin, the RAAF is at the revolutionary forefront of technology and demonstrated capability. I know more than silly but I'd like to knock the endless comparisons to WW2 and where the RAAF is positioned now!


5th Generation F35 fighter- equivalent of having RAAF Spitfires whereas in 1939 were defenceless.

Mature 4th and 4 1/2th generation fighters- Kittyhawks in numbers in 1941 would have blooded more Japanese landings and air strikes.

Current, highly trained and tactically developmental RAAF aircrew, with combat experience- Luftwaffe and Japanese pilots ( in Spain and China ) were blooded and primed for the application of advanced air combat for the day. If RAAF crews were so trained and equipped many areas of early WW2 would have been less unfavourable.

Advanced radar and ISR platforms, fixed and airborne- radar was decisive in the Pacific littoral and the UK, adversaries that had ignored the capability paid dearly. We see this now, many mid-size air forces have not anywhere near the capabilities the RAAF is operating or investing in.

Electronic Warfare Growler etc- I'd put this in the catgory of the most advanced and decisive capability equivalents at the start and throughout WW2. The RAAF is at the pinnacle of capability and had no such foresight in government in the 1930's.

Anti-shipping warfare is a decisive capability for Australia with Super Hornets and Growlers, P8's and information linking to the navy. And an eventual longer range stealthy missile, making a maritime encounter between anyone other than the USN, a likely unsuccessful battle for potential adversaries- in WW2 our doctrine still believed in the battleship that left our troops stranded in Singapore. The modern RAAF has the capability with SH, stealth ( F35 evolving ) and Growler to drive naval engagements regionally sub-surface only - as a RAND study predicts, for instance, war in the South China Sea would end up sub-surface after a week as submarine and airborne stealth sink surface combatants.

The last decade or so tend to demonstrate a RAAF leadership at the forefront of airpower development relevant to Australia's defence- WW2 was a poor reflection on the RAAF at the senior levels.

There is no useful WW2 comparisons to the RAAF, which on paper is forging itself toward capabilities and doctrine far beyond our eve of disaster in 1939. There was a period of time where the F111, with upgraded weapons systems, offered an amazing capability. But really, nowadays, it's range would just mean it would fly a long way unescorted to get shot down! It can't fly from say Butterworth to attack the Parcel Islands without a complex package of support - its sobering when chatting to co-pilots ( whilst flying over the Chinese island bases ), who are not long off operations on Tornados and Mirages in the Mid East and Africa and them reflecting on adversary SAM capabilities ( the ones perched on the Parcels ).

It's time to move on from Wirraways and F111. The F35 is here.

junior.VH-LFA
23rd Jul 2018, 06:37
Gnadenburg, MK1, stop talking so much sense you lot.

Heathrow Harry
23rd Jul 2018, 08:12
You're right up to a point - there isn't a lot of choice now or even on the horizon

The weak link in any F-35 deployment is likely to be the tankers and bases TBH - how close to the front line can you operate the former and how do you stop the enemy disrupting the latter.........

Lookleft
23rd Jul 2018, 09:31
The words you are looking for HH are air superiority. No different now to what was required 100 years ago.

Gnadenburg
23rd Jul 2018, 10:42
The weak link in any F-35 deployment is likely to be the tankers and bases TBH - how close to the front line can you operate the former and how do you stop the enemy disrupting the latter.........

Depends who you are fighting or embedded with?

The highest risk to escorted tankers would be Chinese long-range stealth aviation developed for this scenario. This capability is close to China unless they secure airbases in the Pacific. This is what's fascinating now. Elements of War Plan Orange are as relevant today as they were in the early 1900's. It's a race ( China replacing Japan ) to secure influence in different areas of Asia and the Pacific to gain or deny military installations. The RAND studies place major tanking limitations for operations centred out of Guam in say a scenario whereby the PLA blockades the South China Sea.

The loss of the Luzon bases pivotal to any South China Sea campaign. And only on reflection does it look like this was the first major stakes play at political interference by China whereby local Filipino politics was driven toward long term strategic goals for China. So thirty years ago this was playing out and the West has been napping.

For the RAAF, they seem well placed for even the most capable threats projected or operating in our immediate region. If the Chinese navy is more frequent a visitor to our region than the USN in upcoming years, our whole defence policy is on its ear.

dodgybrothers
23rd Jul 2018, 15:37
For the less educated and there seems plenty responding that are educated in this subject matter, for a country with the landmass and shoreline size of Australia, why do we don’t have a carrier/s capable of transporting and launching these assets? It seems to be the obvious fix to range issue.

Australopithecus
23rd Jul 2018, 16:24
There are many reasons why carriers aren't a good idea. The cost of an off the shelf carrier strike force is perhaps $70 Billion with a running cost of 3-4 billion/year. Plus you need nuclear vessels including submarines. Mostly though carriers are more for projecting power.

The US is the only nation running credible classic carriers. The US is a unique case given their propensity to collect allies and foes in large numbers by the carrot-and-stick method.

Australia, like most other nations, can operate from unsinkable land bases to defend its sovereignty.

slats11
23rd Jul 2018, 16:58
Lots of reasons

1. Australia has not had the need for carriers.
The last time Australia was seriously under threat of being invaded was WW2. That's more than 70 years ago. Since then the RAAF has been part of multinational operations in far away places - Korea, Vietnam, Middle East, ISIS etc. Australia has been in a relatively quiet and secure corner of the world. Australia decided to go with the JSF against this reassuring backdrop.
So until recently, we believed the RAAF would most likely be part of multinational coalitions contributing to multinational operations in distant places.
The need to defend Australia has only come to the forefront over the last 10-20 years with the rise of China, exacerbated by more recent concerns about possible future withdrawal of US from the Western Pacific.

2. Carriers are expensive.
Very expensive. Hence those nations with carriers belong to an exclusive club.
Most countries don't have any carriers. 4-5 countries (France, India, Russia, Brazil) have just 1 carrier. Italy and China have 2 small carriers. UK is working towards having 2 carriers. USA has 11 large carriers.
Its not just the cost of the carrier and the aircraft. It is also the supporting escort ships required to protect the carrier - missile cruisers, anti-submarine frigates or destroyers, submarines. Without these escorts, the carrier (with your planes) is vulnerable and won't last long. Plus you need supply ships.
Then you probably need 2 carriers to be certain of having one available when you need it. Carriers need periodic overhauls and upgrades, and these take 1-2 years to complete. Of the 11 US carriers, only 7-8 are able to be deployed at any one time - the rest are in overhaul. Countries with just one carrier have long periods where it is unable to be deployed.

3. Carrier operations are very complex.
The technology is complex, and the logistics are complicated. It is a very steep learning curve.
It would likely take a country like Australia 20 years to acquire the capability and knowledge to undertake carrier operations - and that is assuming money is not a limiting step (when of course it is).

4. We may be on the verge of a new era in military aviation
Will piloted aircraft still be relevant in 20 years time? Will carriers be considered too vulnerable to a new generation of high speed long range missiles and other weapons? Will carriers become a case of putting all your eggs in one very vulnerable basket?
Will we instead be using long range drones with new generation sensors and weapons? A drone is far cheaper and more expendable than a piloted plane, and range / endurance will be much greater if you don't need a pilot with all the human systems.
Investing in carriers now could be an expensive trip down a dead end.
It may be cheaper and more reliable to operate drones from a number of small bases in northern Australia - we can acquire this capability faster, and this dispersed capability will be less vulnerable to enemy action.

Heathrow Harry
23rd Jul 2018, 18:13
TBH it would be cheaper to buildup the capability of Indonesia and the Philippines - after all, they're a pretty good buffer distance wise against Chinese aggression......

imperial shifter
24th Jul 2018, 14:00
"You are Duncan Sandys and I claim my £5...

PDR"

Sorry PDR, you've lost me.


@ aviation_enthus

I don't disagree that some form of aviation is required. Just not one that is so expensive and has such glaring weaknesses. Short range, high EGT, single engine, non-stealth against ground based radar, non-stealth when carrying externally, I could go on. The Russians and Chinese spotted these (and more I'm sure) many years ago and have developed and deployed their responses before the F35 is close to being useful.

Sh!t - I just glanced up and read something about carriers - All due respect sir as I haven't read your piece but WW2 is over. Carriers are only good for power projection against defenseless banana republics. Australia is a big carrier that is permanently moored. What good would a carrier be to us as a defensive tool?

Sorry. Back to Mr Enthus. I like on - off. Make attacking too costly to undertake and the switch will always be off. Yes? (https://www.pprune.org/members/220424-aviation_enthus)

imperial shifter
24th Jul 2018, 14:07
Oh. Before I turn in for the night. The biggest weakness of the f35 is the flight crew. Slaughter them in their beds and what good are they then? That will be move no.1 if anybody is desperate enough to attack us. And the job will be done before we even know whats going on. Sweat dreams peeps.

Gnadenburg
24th Jul 2018, 17:06
TBH it would be cheaper to buildup the capability of Indonesia and the Philippines - after all, they're a pretty good buffer distance wise against Chinese aggression......

The Phillipines is a basket case of military ineptitude, corruption and political expedience. The President is unstable which is why the massive ex US Luzon bases are pretty much still dilapidated.

Indonesia is a double-edged sword. Their forecast GDP growth is quite massive so their own self-funded build up inevitable. I'm guessing ties will be warm but cautious.

Gnadenburg
24th Jul 2018, 17:16
Oh. Before I turn in for the night. The biggest weakness of the f35 is the flight crew. Slaughter them in their beds and what good are they then? That will be move no.1 if anybody is desperate enough to attack us. And the job will be done before we even know whats going on. Sweat dreams peeps.

Well this was the fear of American F15 pilots in West Germany during the Cold War. Spetsnaz assassination teams targeting critical crew where hours mattered not the days to get replacements from stateside.

There was also the story of the travelling salesman in Sweden in the 80's, suspected Russian commandos again. Half the pilots of one Swedish Air Force fighter wing were visited so the old wives tale says.

Christian names in the press only and social media common sense and indication that unconventional threats against ADF personnel not ignored.

Heathrow Harry
24th Jul 2018, 18:39
"You are Duncan Sandys and I claim my £5...

PDR"

Sorry PDR, you've lost me.


@ aviation_enthus

I don't disagree that some form of aviation is required. Just not one that is so expensive and has such glaring weaknesses. Short range, high EGT, single engine, non-stealth against ground based radar, non-stealth when carrying externally, I could go on. The Russians and Chinese spotted these (and more I'm sure) many years ago and have developed and deployed their responses before the F35 is close to being useful.

Sh!t - I just glanced up and read something about carriers - All due respect sir as I haven't read your piece but WW2 is over. Carriers are only good for power projection against defenseless banana republics. Australia is a big carrier that is permanently moored. What good would a carrier be to us as a defensive tool?

Sorry. Back to Mr Enthus. I like on - off. Make attacking too costly to undertake and the switch will always be off. Yes? (https://www.pprune.org/members/220424-aviation_enthus)


Google is your friend..

Heathrow Harry
24th Jul 2018, 18:43
The Phillipines is a basket case of military ineptitude, corruption and political expedience. The President is unstable which is why the massive ex US Luzon bases are pretty much still dilapidated.

Indonesia is a double-edged sword. Their forecast GDP growth is quite massive so their own self-funded build up inevitable. I'm guessing ties will be warm but cautious.
well if you play it right they provide the battlefield..... Indonesia especially is viscerally anti chinese, has a v large population and is ideologically non Communist...

Lookleft
25th Jul 2018, 00:11
When it comes to protecting Australian shores other countries have always provided the battlefields. New Zealand,Sudan,South Africa,Turkey, Middle East Belgium,France, Russia, North Africa, Greece,Crete,Malaysia,Singapore,Burma,Indonesia (Dutch East Indies),Papua New Guinea, Pacific Islands,Korea,Borneo,Vietnam,East Timor,Iraq,Afghanistan. They are just the land battles and there will be countries I have missed. I think Australian defense analysts and planners have a firm idea of what part the Indonesian archipelago will play in any future conflict.

Gnadenburg
25th Jul 2018, 03:04
I'm not sure what you are suggesting HH? Australia fund an Indonesian military rebuild? I'd be pretty sure a lot of our aid is sensibly going into CT ?

It's not as simple as you suggest. The Indonesians buy some Chinese weapons too and their China policies still seemingly fluid. Even aiding the logical build up of Indonesian maritime and air bases in Kalimantan say, would be complicated considering the Malaysians.

Back to the F35 and the ADF. I'm guessing that more tankers are on the cards in the medium term as the ADF is pressed toward more long range surveillance and intelligence support to the north.

gileraguy
25th Jul 2018, 03:36
Kind of reminds me of American attitudes with the cannon-less F-4 phantoms going into the Vietnam war citing only missiles were needed in modern day dogfighting. Of course they had to subsequently fit F-4s with cannons after realizing inferior MiG-17s were putting up a good fight(of course there were other factors too).
Anyway for the sake our tax-dollars I really hope I'm wrong.

from joe.baugher.com:
The F-4E was credited with 21 MiG kills during the war. 10 of these were brought down by Sparrows, five with gunfire, four with Sidewinders, one with a combination of Sidewinder and gunfire, and one while maneuvering (no weapons being fired). However, most combat missions flown in Vietnam by the F-4E were ground-attack missions.

FYI.

Mk 1
25th Jul 2018, 04:49
from joe.baugher.com:
The F-4E was credited with 21 MiG kills during the war. 10 of these were brought down by Sparrows, five with gunfire, four with Sidewinders, one with a combination of Sidewinder and gunfire, and one while maneuvering (no weapons being fired). However, most combat missions flown in Vietnam by the F-4E were ground-attack missions.

FYI.
And I'm guessing missile tech has advanced a tad in the last 50 years too.

atpcliff
25th Jul 2018, 10:05
The cost of the F-35 is crap. I flew with a guy...his Brother in Law works for Martin Marietta, where they make SOME of the F-35. He said if they made the WHOLE AIRCRAFT in their factory, it would only cost about 25% of what the US is paying per copy.
Pure corruption.
I really hate it when taxpayer money is wasted!!!

mattyj
26th Jul 2018, 06:23
I’m inclined to agree, however the evolving requirements of the US Defense department as it progressed through development (before the design freeze) added cost upon cost, and the fact the standard version is subsidizing the STOVL version and its protracted development, and the fact that the initial batches have to cover the enormous development and design costs, which is exacerbated by some buyers reducing their order sizes...all factors into the unit cost being far in excess of the actual value of the materials

josephfeatherweight
26th Jul 2018, 06:53
I flew with a guy...his Brother in Law works for Martin Marietta, where they make SOME of the F-35. He said if they made the WHOLE AIRCRAFT in their factory, it would only cost about 25% of what the US is paying per copy.
Sounds legit...
(PS. I don't disagree that these things are hideously expensive.)

gulliBell
30th Jul 2018, 14:03
Report that today an RAAF fast jet had an engine failure on approach to land at Darwin, with the pilot jettisoning the aircraft external fuel tank whilst in flight. If this was one of our new F-35's it would have been a case of the pilot jettisoning himself and not the fuel tank.

Pera
30th Jul 2018, 14:44
Report that today an RAAF fast jet had an engine failure on approach to land at Darwin, with the pilot jettisoning the aircraft external fuel tank whilst in flight. If this was one of our new F-35's it would have been a case of the pilot jettisoning himself and not the fuel tank.

It wasn't RAAF, it was single engine and the pilot didn't eject. Thanks for your input but perhaps know what you're talking about next time.

junior.VH-LFA
30th Jul 2018, 15:17
Report that today an RAAF fast jet had an engine failure on approach to land at Darwin, with the pilot jettisoning the aircraft external fuel tank whilst in flight. If this was one of our new F-35's it would have been a case of the pilot jettisoning himself and not the fuel tank.
You mean the single engined F-16 that didn't eject?

Nice try. :ok:

gulliBell
30th Jul 2018, 15:32
Cool...dead stick an F-16 to the runway...scurrilous initial news reporting!

gulliBell
30th Jul 2018, 15:33
It wasn't RAAF, it was single engine and the pilot didn't eject. Thanks for your input but perhaps know what you're talking about next time.

I didn't make the report, i just reported the report as reported in the media.

junior.VH-LFA
30th Jul 2018, 15:37
I didn't make the report, i just reported the report as reported in the media.

Show me a link to a report that says it was a RAAF jet.


http://archive-server.liveatc.net/ypdn/YPDN-Jul-30-2018-0200Z.mp3

Enjoy.

Maggie Island
30th Jul 2018, 15:46
I didn't make the report, i just reported the report as reported in the media.

Username checks out

AirBumps
31st Jul 2018, 09:29
Report that today an RAAF fast jet had an engine failure on approach to land at Darwin, with the pilot jettisoning the aircraft external fuel tank whilst in flight. If this was one of our new F-35's it would have been a case of the pilot jettisoning himself and not the fuel tank.

And to you Sir goes this weeks award for the most uninformed, speculative and sensationalist post.

imperial shifter
31st Jul 2018, 11:27
How about playing the ball and not the man. The Mig 29 has an intake setup where when on the ground the "flight" intakes are blocked and inlets from above (put very simply!) are open to mitigate against FOD when taxiing on dodgy soviet strips. What defence / capability to withstand does the F35 have against bird ingestion or FOD? Serious question!

josephfeatherweight
31st Jul 2018, 11:32
Well, if it's "serious questions" we're posing, I'll chuck my "serious question" in also - what other fighter aircraft have a "defence / capability" "against bird ingestion or FOD?"
(Apart from the Mig 29)
Serious question!
(Not really...)

imperial shifter
31st Jul 2018, 12:13
How about ones with two engines?

imperial shifter
31st Jul 2018, 12:15
Oh yeh, silly me. Airliners have two engines for weight and balance!

itsnotthatbloodyhard
31st Jul 2018, 12:37
How about ones with two engines?

Here’s your twin-engined MiG 29 after taking a bird down one engine:
https://cimg3.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.gmforum.com-vbulletin/768x1024/390ce4a2_e844_4ee1_8e8a_f132c7b54304_94f9abf5c80e242fc8476c2 9aa6f8fd82caee4cb.jpeg

imperial shifter
31st Jul 2018, 12:52
Ha. Nice shot. As I said, play the ball and not the man. I wish I could catch trout this easy! If the loss rate of the F35 due to having one engine is considered OK by the powers that be then that's that. Just don't kid yourself that it's superior to a twin engine A/C no matter how impressive the photo!

itsnotthatbloodyhard
31st Jul 2018, 13:12
Ha. Nice shot. As I said, play the ball and not the man.

’Playing the man’ clearly has a much broader definition than I thought.

josephfeatherweight
31st Jul 2018, 13:28
If the loss rate of the F35 due to having one engine is considered OK by the powers that be then that's that.
What are you on about, imperial shifter? What "loss rate" due to "having one engine" are you referring to?
Clearly the "powers that be" do consider it "OK".
How many Hawk 127s have the RAAF lost due to FOD/Bird Ingestion - leading to engine failure?
How many Macchis did they lose due to such events?
You're making it hard to play the ball, as I can't see past the goose running around on the footy field flapping his arms.
I'll add this - I have only a basic knowledge of the F35 programme, and I have my doubts that the F35 represents good value given the HORRENDOUS cost blowouts and the HUGE delays - but my doubts have nothing to do with the fact it only has one donk...

mattyj
31st Jul 2018, 17:14
The Aussie defense forces have operated A4 Skyhawks and Mirage IIIs before..there is a single engine precedent (also Vampires and Sabres..etc etc)

Heathrow Harry
31st Jul 2018, 19:08
I think someone on the F-35 thread in MILITARY on here said the US armed forces determined they couldn't afford to develop a new twin and buy enough of them to make it worth while....... especially when you factored in stealth . It woul d have cost more than an F-22

Going Boeing
1st Aug 2018, 04:21
The F35, due to its stealth characteristics, won't have to operate close to the ground very often and thus won't be exposed to birdstrikes to the same degree as non steath fighter/attack aircraft. This significantly reduces the risk associated with operating a single engine fighter.

On the tanker issue, there is no doubt that the tankers will be targeted so, it would not surprise me if the RAAF follows the development of stealthy UAV tankers currently being designed to operate from US Navy carriers. These UAV tankers could eventually refuel from the larger, manned tankers and then sent into higher risk areas in support of F35 missions.

TBM-Legend
1st Aug 2018, 05:53
How many F-35's have been lost todate with engine/bird issues? A. Zero, including prototypes, which is unheard of in previous fighter types. Speaking of twin engine safety, the RAAF EA-18G Growler was a write-off at Red Flag recently, due to a catastrophic engine failure on take-off that destroyed the aircraft. Cat 5 and it was a twin engined aircraft...

Mk 1
1st Aug 2018, 07:04
Sounds legit...
(PS. I don't disagree that these things are hideously expensive.)

Meh... Is he in the engineering dept? If they are only making some parts, how does he know what the other parts are worth? Does he know how much research was needed to achieve the degree of performance and LO characteristics? The cost per airframe in bits and pieces may be a fraction of the cost but the extensive design, testing etc doesn't come for free....

Mk 1
1st Aug 2018, 07:09
How about playing the ball and not the man. The Mig 29 has an intake setup where when on the ground the "flight" intakes are blocked and inlets from above (put very simply!) are open to mitigate against FOD when taxiing on dodgy soviet strips. What defence / capability to withstand does the F35 have against bird ingestion or FOD? Serious question!
Given the size of the mainwheels and 'mudguards' on the nose wheels I'd say the aircraft was designed to operate onto austere fields on occasion. That probably meant they needed and engineering solution to block the main intakes. The F35A is not designed to operate on anything other than a conventional well maintained runway - it therefore doesn't need the same solution. Incidentally - extra complexity, weight and the potential issues with signature are also reasons to avoid using it on the F35. If you do need to operate from an austere field, LM would point you towards the F35B.
'

josephfeatherweight
1st Aug 2018, 11:20
MK1 - I was being sarcastic (sorry, should have made it more obvious)
To me, it read along the lines of "my best mate's, neighbour's plumber reckons..."

JPJP
1st Aug 2018, 18:32
The F35, due to its stealth characteristics, won't have to operate close to the ground very often and thus won't be exposed to birdstrikes to the same degree as non steath fighter/attack aircraft. This significantly reduces the risk associated with operating a single engine fighter..

Three letters - C A S

Going Boeing
1st Aug 2018, 19:55
C A S in a F35 would probably involve throwing smarter bombs from a greater height & distance. Gunnery would be an option that would be used less than with current fighters.

JPJP
2nd Aug 2018, 05:20
Gunnery would be an option that would be used less than with current fighters.



Uhhhhh huh. Providing CAS is an option ?

Jetstarpilot
3rd Aug 2018, 05:12
My perfed option wuz alwayz a six sec bust on the cannons up the pipe...... the dirty commies never new what hit em��

mattyj
3rd Aug 2018, 13:03
6 seconds would be just about the whole drum wouldn’t it??

imperial shifter
5th Aug 2018, 11:25
"The Aussie defense forces have operated A4 Skyhawks and Mirage IIIs before..there is a single engine precedent (also Vampires and Sabres..etc etc"

"The fleet was built to a total of 100 Single seat 111Os and 16 dual seat 111Ds. Over the next twenty four years 43 aircraft were lost and 14 pilots were killed."

You'd think they were used in combat! Hey, I wasn't going to mention the Mirage as it's not a fair comparison but as somebody else did...

Aint this fun!

What's also cute about the F35 is that if the US decides not to supply Turkey then the production line will stall for 18 months to 2 years as they source alternate suppliers to Turkish produced parts. So when we get these buckets, if we are on the other side of the fence to a component supplier that the US can't control, what then?

Oh. And I love the aerial takers to refuel aerial tankers to refuel....that was a joke right?

imperial shifter
5th Aug 2018, 11:41
Mirage in the RAAF

Individual causes as a percentage of the 42 aircraft lost
18 engine failure 42.85%
11 loss of control and impact 26.19%
6 undercarriage malfunction 14.3%
3 landing accident 7.14%
3 collision with another aircraft 7.14%
1 tyre failure 2.38%
42 equals 100% of losses

Yes...I know. One site had 43 lost and the other 42! I don't know....But is even 5% loss of the F35 due engine failure acceptable?

imperial shifter
5th Aug 2018, 11:51
"F-16 known as 'lawn dart'
The F-16 is known in Air Force circles as the “lawn dart” for its tendency to plunge back to Earth when its single engine flames out, and in most years, engine failure causes more accidents than any other factor. But pilot error was responsible for about the same number of F-16 accidents as engine failure in the past year."

"The rate of Class A accidents this year — 3.18 per 100,000 hours flown — was the highest since 2001, when it was 3.85 because of a rash of engine failures."

But the F35 will be different....

Heathrow Harry
5th Aug 2018, 17:06
The Mirage dates back to 1956... things have moved on a bit since then..........

pax britanica
5th Aug 2018, 18:11
In the Uk we have similar debates.
Two very different scenarios in terms of threats but when you get down to it what really is the threat to Australia, I mean you arent going to fly them half way a ound the world to help us out are you.

From here it looks like Indonesia witha radical government in the future. maybe makes some sense

China-well if they want to make a move on all that space you have got a couple of smart fighters is not going to deter them is it. Basically you are toast before breakfast , but its very very unlikely isnt it?

Same here, who are the enemies, well its not the Russians anymore because they have already invaded England , well London , and they are more right wing than our Government is and all their allies are now our allies.

China is too far away so that leaves the EU and the USA who are traditionally on the same side . the EU military is about 5 times the size of the UKs and has the same or better equipment .

The USA , who knows with Trump, is equally unlikely and even if something did happen you can bet that a software intensive fighter would mysteriously stop working if used against its maker.

So define the threat first and then buy the toys -personally i think we in UK should have just stuck with our Typhoons and dumped the carriers and spent the money on more spooks and rapid response tactical level elite troops. And of course with the zillions left over spend it on such useless items as the health service, elderly care and better education but thats so boring. Maybe its different down there but seeing as you could give away the northern half of your country and no one would notice or care maybe you have some better alternatives too.

junior.VH-LFA
6th Aug 2018, 01:23
Does anyone decrying the F-35 actually have experience flying Fast Jets in the RAAF? Just thinking out loud... :) I mean, it's almost like there's maybe some level of technical mastery, qualified understanding and knowledge that goes into these decisions and projects.

I could be wrong though, and maybe wikipedia is where it's at.

itsnotthatbloodyhard
6th Aug 2018, 05:59
Flying one has absolutely nothing to do with it, I’m sure they’re a lot of fun.

So if, say, a high-ranking FCI with a few decades of operational experience reckons the F-35 is definitely the way to go for the RAAF, that wouldn’t count for anything?

Gnadenburg
6th Aug 2018, 06:26
Would a high-ranking RAAF FCI be able to say anything different publically?

Some ex-RAAF FCI's not employed in the military industrial complex after RAAF retirement have reservations about the aircraft.

junior.VH-LFA
6th Aug 2018, 06:44
So if, say, a high-ranking FCI with a few decades of operational experience reckons the F-35 is definitely the way to go for the RAAF, that wouldn’t count for anything?

I'm yet to meet a single F-35 driver who doesn't like the aircraft.

More to the point, I'm yet to see anyone provide a genuine 5th generation airframe that represents the same overall value for money (I'm talking sensors, integration etc, not just what it can do at an airshow :E)

itsnotthatbloodyhard
6th Aug 2018, 06:51
Would a high-ranking RAAF FCI be able to say anything different publically?



No idea. This was a private conversation with a former colleague.

Gnadenburg
6th Aug 2018, 08:05
From here it looks like Indonesia witha radical government in the future. maybe makes some sense

Actually, Indonesia's forecast GDP growth over the next 20 + years is so significant, a stable government, with sensible military procurement, is as big a game changer for Australia's strategic environment as a destabilised Indonesian leadership and all its potential internal horror. Indonesia will have money to run a modernisation program not unlike, though on a smaller scale, as the PLA. I'd argue, that as per RAND studies on air superiority, stealth fighter numbers would become critical for the RAAF to hold its own against a rapidly expanding Indonesia- if a threat. A stable, growing Indonesia though, is more likely to be rubbing up against conflicting interest with the Chinese in the South China Sea. Military planners in Australia know this and it is not unlikely for the former state of "Kamaria" to have shared regional interests and military alliances pushing toward 2030.

China's maritime Silk Route is dependant on the Malacca Straits. Alternative routes are via the Sunda and Lombok straights in the Indonesian archipelago and are particularly vulnerable to Australian and American airpower in northern bases. China's reliance on energy and trade is massive and it is yet to possess a capability to break a blockade from a medium power- even Singapore say- in interdicting its maritime routes at these choke points.

The government has invested in an air force that can lift the capabilities of others in the region with its capabilities including JSF. It is also has the ability to bolt-on to US capabilities offering a fair commitment to our alliance. The RAAF is also in a position to be expanded if needed over a reasonable time-frame of any unforeseen threats emerging. Australia is not toast before breakfast for the PLA.

Lookleft
6th Aug 2018, 09:24
Before the Cold War ended the Russians were considered to have a very capable military mainly because they had lots of military hardware. Proxy wars in the Middle East where Russian Command and Control tactics were used demonstrated that Communist military doctrine was flawed. This was made more apparent once the Wall came down. A lot of current thinking seems to be elevating the PLA to the same Cold War status as the USSR even though they have a very similar Communist Command and Control system. I agree with this statement:

Australia is not toast before breakfast for the PLA.

Heathrow Harry
6th Aug 2018, 09:54
Gnandeberg is correct - it all turns on Indonesia - it's very unlikely that they would become an ally of the PRC - and they are one hell of a road block in the way - even with their current minimal set of forces

With limited military investment they could make China's strategic position rather uncomfortable if they wanted to - unless the Chinese want to send everything via the Panama Canal

Australian support for the TNI should be a bedrock of your strategy

Lookleft
6th Aug 2018, 13:32
HH Australia has trained and supported the TNI for a very long time. You just would not have heard about it on the other side of the world. Its not only the military cooperation but also the Australian Federal Police have regular contact with their Indonesian counterparts regarding security and terrorism activities.

Heathrow Harry
6th Aug 2018, 17:28
HH Australia has trained and supported the TNI for a very long time. You just would not have heard about it on the other side of the world. Its not only the military cooperation but also the Australian Federal Police have regular contact with their Indonesian counterparts regarding security and terrorism activities.

I was thinking more of major military exercises etc............................ practicing moving kit and supplies forwards as well..................... and reporting them widely might help not hinder

stormfury
6th Aug 2018, 22:13
Indonesia would look to ASEAN for anything of a largish nature. Although they are really determined be seen as the leader (aligns with their ‘hero’ culture) in any large activity and are more likely to go it alone - they surprised a lot of people when they mobilized a sufficient force to evacuate their citizens from Yemen in 2015. It is unlikely they would do large scale military activities with Australia - small scale unit-to-unit exacanges and excercises is the extent of it.

CoodaShooda
6th Aug 2018, 22:48
Indonesia is currently participating in Pitch Black with F16's.

Going Boeing
6th Aug 2018, 23:45
Indonesia is currently participating in Pitch Black with F16's.

Along with a Chinese Navy warship.

stormfury
6th Aug 2018, 23:47
Indonesia is currently participating in Pitch Black with F16's.I stand corrected, times have changed, for the bettter.

Gnadenburg
7th Aug 2018, 05:02
HH Australia has trained and supported the TNI for a very long time. You just would not have heard about it on the other side of the world. Its not only the military cooperation but also the Australian Federal Police have regular contact with their Indonesian counterparts regarding security and terrorism activities.

I was talking more along the lines of a strategic partnership arising due mutual threats emerging : such as an aggressive China or a reduced US Pacific commitment. There's plenty written about this but the limitation of a meaningful push-back against Chinese soft and hard power policies and increasing military presence is Indonesia's dilapidated military. And RAND studies place such an importance on stealth in countering Chinese military strength in the South China seas, Indonesia is arguably a decade away from acquiring this technology.

Gnadenburg
7th Aug 2018, 05:24
Before the Cold War ended the Russians were considered to have a very capable military mainly because they had lots of military hardware. Proxy wars in the Middle East where Russian Command and Control tactics were used demonstrated that Communist military doctrine was flawed. This was made more apparent once the Wall came down. A lot of current thinking seems to be elevating the PLA to the same Cold War status as the USSR even though they have a very similar Communist Command and Control system. I agree with this statement:

LL

Yes, the Israelis were the first to dismantle Soviet IADS so convincingly back in 1982. This was followed up by GW1 and GW2, Kosovo and Libya with the West. These air campaigns are from where the Chinese are making the most applications of late.

Any military conflict with China can't be underestimated as their doctrine of systems confrontation makes interesting reading.

"Systems confrontation is waged not only in the traditional physical domains of land, sea, and air, but also in outer space, nonphysical cyberspace, electromagnetic, and even psychological domains."

So I mentioned earlier, the RAAF structured around an "effective" JSF fleet and niche capabilities ( complex EW platforms ) and well trained personnel, would be well noted by China. The brief description of systems confrontation gives an imaginative mind many scenarios whereby the PLA may counter western strength in airpower. Conflict will be combined with other unseen drivers of victory- denying the enemy's democratic population a will to fight is as complete as destroying an airbase. Australia is vulnerable politically and economically to systems confrontation doctrine. China can drive a housing crash, force our currency lower and drive interest rates cripplingly higher- and our political grubs and beneficiaries of sponsored Chinese wealth are easily exposed with cyber coercion.

Interesting times indeed!

fdr
9th Aug 2018, 08:06
The Pig had it's time and place, but the technology originally was problematic. When originally deployed into SEA during the tiff there, the loss rate in the first sorties flown was severe enough to get it withdrawn from the battle. Today, the capability to operate LL while in complete EMCON would have alleviated that problem, and perhaps the aircraft would have had a better life story. The F-35 is expensive, no question. The capability does permit a change in tactics that can give some levelling of that cost, but it is still an expensive capital weapon system even in a single ship sortie. The F-35 cost makes for an interesting discussion as to how will it be deployed in mud moving, if a CAS task is on the agenda, it is a multi role aircraft after all.

For my money, crank up the GAU-8, upgrade the TF34s on the Hog and give some numbers of CAS capability to the troops in the field. The F-35 does a potential CAP role well, if supported by wedgetail and presumably Jindalee (wherever that is today), and if ROE permits the use of it's capabilites; if BVR is off the table due to the ROE, then you are going to have a bad day on numbers. We are overdue of a Thunderbolt III, an aircraft that can support the guys who are in the field.

When acquiring attack helos, get one that can carry bullets past the barbed wire; that unfortunately today gets expensive, but darn if they don't lift the odds for the blue side troops.

Australia is an island, at least it has been for the last many millennia. We have not taken advantage of the large aircraft carrier that is Australia, where countries such as Singapore and Switzerland provided infrastructure for operational diversity, increasing the complexity of the problem in interdicting the operations that are necessary when we remove STOL from the equation. As a maritime nation, submarines make for a compelling problem for any potential adverary. Skimmers make fair targets, but wave flags. Range necessitates sizing which increased detection without stealth geometry/RAM, so there is a place for small, efficient, fast, and sea kindly patrol vessels, which points towards what the littoral combat craft could have been before it became Panama City Beaches coastal attraction. Modest size wave piercing hulls please, with geometric stealth.

At the same time, no one wants to pay more tax, in fact I'm not sure anyone wants to pay any tax. So getting the equipment that is necessary to give some measure of comfort to defence of the "realm" is going to annoy someone always.

On the bright side, selling off AUS to potential adversaries is a national past time. There is a fair ROI on giving the land away to the other side.

If armament advances, the adversary being a student of Sun Tzu (or his scribes) is going to propose asymmetry against the structure that we get with conventional weapons. That doesn't allow the state to avoid it's obligations, it does suggest that a smart adversary will tend to recognise what you perceive as a strength, and plan so to make that a weakness. Recall the Maginot Line... or Trumps 12' wall that can only be defeated by a 13' ladder.

ROE will make or break the F-35; it is an expensive mud buster, A-10's are cheap, and unloved by anyone in a blue uniform at fort fumble, hated by the other team, and loved by the guys they support on the ground. Give them to the Marines...

John Boyd's EM analysis spoke to the F-4, The F-14, and the F-111, the world has changed somewhat but the concept remains the same. As much as EM made the case against those aircraft, it was the basis for sound design in the F-16, until the blue suiters lost the plot, and gold plated it like the F-15. Johns work on OODA (hated by the USAF, loved by the Marines) would predict that the West has a fundamental flaw in technological program development cycles, we are now so extended in the R&D and rollout to IOE, that an adversary has the potential to get inside the loop, and mess with your day. The armament industry in the West does not have the ability to innovate rapidly any longer, it has become excessively bureaucratic and process driven, and that is a warning all of itself. Agility of mind is needed, and we have lost that battle in the West.

We are the age of asymmetry, and that means agility of mind and imagination is needed as much as gold plated arms programs with extended procurement cycles.


P.S. as much as I respect the A10 concept, structures and ballistic damage simulation and modelling has advanced sufficiently to make it realistically possible to develop a Thunderbolt III with advanced materials. The aircraft is about as cheap a weapon system as it is possible to produce, and while the 30mm makes a statement, smaller rounds are now available with smart technology that would make for a more efficient design. That would be a worthwhile program to have on the boil.

Heathrow Harry
9th Aug 2018, 09:41
The Pig had it's time and place, but the technology originally was problematic. When originally deployed into SEA during the tiff there, the loss rate in the first sorties flown was severe enough to get it withdrawn from the battle. Today, the capability to operate LL while in complete EMCON would have alleviated that problem, and perhaps the aircraft would have had a better life story. The F-35 is expensive, no question. The capability does permit a change in tactics that can give some levelling of that cost, but it is still an expensive capital weapon system even in a single ship sortie. The F-35 cost makes for an interesting discussion as to how will it be deployed in mud moving, if a CAS task is on the agenda, it is a multi role aircraft after all.

For my money, crank up the GAU-8, upgrade the TF34s on the Hog and give some numbers of CAS capability to the troops in the field. The F-35 does a potential CAP role well, if supported by wedgetail and presumably Jindalee (wherever that is today), and if ROE permits the use of it's capabilites; if BVR is off the table due to the ROE, then you are going to have a bad day on numbers. We are overdue of a Thunderbolt III, an aircraft that can support the guys who are in the field.

When acquiring attack helos, get one that can carry bullets past the barbed wire; that unfortunately today gets expensive, but darn if they don't lift the odds for the blue side troops.

Australia is an island, at least it has been for the last many millennia. We have not taken advantage of the large aircraft carrier that is Australia, where countries such as Singapore and Switzerland provided infrastructure for operational diversity, increasing the complexity of the problem in interdicting the operations that are necessary when we remove STOL from the equation. As a maritime nation, submarines make for a compelling problem for any potential adverary. Skimmers make fair targets, but wave flags. Range necessitates sizing which increased detection without stealth geometry/RAM, so there is a place for small, efficient, fast, and sea kindly patrol vessels, which points towards what the littoral combat craft could have been before it became Panama City Beaches coastal attraction. Modest size wave piercing hulls please, with geometric stealth.

At the same time, no one wants to pay more tax, in fact I'm not sure anyone wants to pay any tax. So getting the equipment that is necessary to give some measure of comfort to defence of the "realm" is going to annoy someone always.

On the bright side, selling off AUS to potential adversaries is a national past time. There is a fair ROI on giving the land away to the other side.

If armament advances, the adversary being a student of Sun Tzu (or his scribes) is going to propose asymmetry against the structure that we get with conventional weapons. That doesn't allow the state to avoid it's obligations, it does suggest that a smart adversary will tend to recognise what you perceive as a strength, and plan so to make that a weakness. Recall the Maginot Line... or Trumps 12' wall that can only be defeated by a 13' ladder.

ROE will make or break the F-35; it is an expensive mud buster, A-10's are cheap, and unloved by anyone in a blue uniform at fort fumble, hated by the other team, and loved by the guys they support on the ground. Give them to the Marines...

John Boyd's EM analysis spoke to the F-4, The F-14, and the F-111, the world has changed somewhat but the concept remains the same. As much as EM made the case against those aircraft, it was the basis for sound design in the F-16, until the blue suiters lost the plot, and gold plated it like the F-15. Johns work on OODA (hated by the USAF, loved by the Marines) would predict that the West has a fundamental flaw in technological program development cycles, we are now so extended in the R&D and rollout to IOE, that an adversary has the potential to get inside the loop, and mess with your day. The armament industry in the West does not have the ability to innovate rapidly any longer, it has become excessively bureaucratic and process driven, and that is a warning all of itself. Agility of mind is needed, and we have lost that battle in the West.

We are the age of asymmetry, and that means agility of mind and imagination is needed as much as gold plated arms programs with extended procurement cycles.


P.S. as much as I respect the A10 concept, structures and ballistic damage simulation and modelling has advanced sufficiently to make it realistically possible to develop a Thunderbolt III with advanced materials. The aircraft is about as cheap a weapon system as it is possible to produce, and while the 30mm makes a statement, smaller rounds are now available with smart technology that would make for a more efficient design. That would be a worthwhile program to have on the boil.

Now that's what I call a decent, thoughtful post - please repost it on the Military thread as well!!!

rodney rude
10th Aug 2018, 12:59
Hey FDR Mate I'm not even pissed and I cant make head nor tail of wtf you are talking about

Australia is an island, at least it has been for the last many millennia. We have not taken advantage of the large aircraft carrier that is Australia, where countries such as Singapore and Switzerland provided infrastructure for operational diversity, increasing the complexity of the problem in interdicting the operations that are necessary when we remove STOL from the equation. As a maritime nation, submarines make for a compelling problem for any potential adverary. Skimmers make fair targets, but wave flags. Range necessitates sizing which increased detection without stealth geometry/RAM, so there is a place for small, efficient, fast, and sea kindly patrol vessels, which points towards what the littoral combat craft could have been before it became Panama City Beaches coastal attraction. Modest size wave piercing hulls please, with geometric stealth

CurtainTwitcher
10th Aug 2018, 23:50
Rodney, start with Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War (https://www.amazon.com.au/Boyd-Fighter-Pilot-Who-Changed/dp/0316796883)

If you want it direct from Boyd, here is one of the few recordings of his famous Pentagon briefings, Conceptual Spiral. You will need the slide pack to follow along as he references it: Conceptual Spiral John R. Boyd (http://pogoarchives.org/m/dni/john_boyd_compendium/conceptual-spiral-20111100.pdf)


https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL10569CDF59FE54A3

Further study would be his 1964 Aerial Attack Study (http://code7700.com/pdfs/aerial-attack-study-1964_john_boyd.pdf)
Finally leading to his only other written work: Destruction & Creation (http://pogoarchives.org/m/dni/john_boyd_compendium/destruction_and_creation.pdf)

(Youtube playlist Conceptual Spiral if URL if the youtube insert doesn't work in your browser: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL10569CDF59FE54A3 )

fdr
11th Aug 2018, 10:55
R.Rude;

I also, was not imbibing while scribing, I was merely musing on the issues of defence of the realm.

Boyd was an accidental academic warrior intellectual, who was despised by his superiors, and loved by the Marines who get his ideas. His grave is not frequented by blue suiters, they still hate him for making the case against bigger, costlier and more glamorous weapons systems. His acolytes included some remarkable people who were on the top of their game, and comprehended that the rough brash arrogance of Boyd was the outer shell of a person who had a fundamental understanding of conflict.
Christie, Spinney, Wyly and the rest of his followers, the gang in the pentagon made their mark, and almost all were effctively marginalised by the system. They did prove that the 60's and 70's designs of aircraft by the USAF were fundamentally flawed, including the F-14, F-15 (to an extent) and others, like the B-ONE... a plane without a need. The USAF got the F-16 specifically due to Boyd and Co as well as the A-10 as well. The gang highlighted the fundamental flaws of the Bradley AFV. If you have ever watched the Kelsey Grammer comedy about the Pentagon Wars, should be aware that the gang of Boyds exposed the falsification of battle damage assessment in the trials, where water was used to replace fuel when the test of response to hits from ordinance was undertaken. These were guys with integrity and brains, who were trying to defend their realm. Today, we have Trump. we have a SOCUS nominee who has lied to congress in swort testimony, and there is a majority that are refusing to provide records that have been available for the last 240 years.

We in the west are stuck in reliance on long lead systems, whereas rat cunning tends to move fast and stochastically, and can get inside your decision making cycle and mess you up. We don't necessarily have an adversary external to AUS, but the money spent on defence needs to deal with predictable risks, while ensuring that we dont build in own goals as a result of that process. Being agile is important, as most adversaries are smart, and able to assess weaknesses where strengths were assumed.

As a clarification, I'm not averse to systems that provide an edge in potential fights, I am concerned that modern systems are like the effort taken to build 12' walls, which take much longer to employ than it takes to design a 13' ladder. Going back to Boyd, or Sun Tzu, that is in keeping with having a macro as well as a micro view of conflict.

Don't bother shooting me for heresy, I've done my time, the problem is for the later generations to deal with.

cheers

TLB
11th Aug 2018, 20:12
In the eighties it was Canadian Defence Force policy to buy only twin engine fighters, given the hostile terrain in the Arctic, where any forseeable country defence would be fought. Both the F-20 and F-16 were disqualified on that basis alone.

Not true. I was part of the selection team for the New Fighter Aircraft Program (replacing our CF-101s, CF-104s and CF-5s) in the late-70s. The competitors were: F-14, F-15, F-16, F-18A, F-18L, and Tornado. The competition went down to a 'short list' of F-16 vs F-18; and was won by F-18. Which was also my personal choice.

Lookleft
11th Aug 2018, 23:23
I remember Australia had a similar shortlist with the F-14 and F-15 being too expensive, the F18L not in production even though it was Northrops design. What was it that swung the final desision in favour of the F18A? Was it range/payload or was it the twin engine layout. At the time the Europeans went for the F16 but they also got some big offsets.

TLB
12th Aug 2018, 16:46
Because the New Fighter Aircraft had to replace our existing three types of fighters, it therefore had to be capable in the Air Intercept, Air-to Air, and Air-to-Ground roles. The F-16 at that time did not have a BVR missile so we would have to pay for all the R&D associated with employing the AIM-7 on the aircraft. The F-18 came AIM-9 and AIM-7 ready. That was one (operational) reason. As always, there were many political factors. But the bottom line is that we got the right aircraft.

Heathrow Harry
13th Aug 2018, 17:34
I remember Australia had a similar shortlist with the F-14 and F-15 being too expensive, the F18L not in production even though it was Northrops design. What was it that swung the final desision in favour of the F18A? Was it range/payload or was it the twin engine layout. At the time the Europeans went for the F16 but they also got some big offsets.

Only the small fry went for the F-16 in Europe - France, UK, Germany, Spain & Sweden never bought them

Lookleft
13th Aug 2018, 23:26
The thread started as a discussion about the F-35 and whether it was a wise use of tax payer dollars. France, UK Spain and Sweden and Italy spent many,many,many more tax payer dollars developing their own fighters which ultimately gave them a capability similar to the F-16 but 15 years later. If the Cold War had turned hot then those "small fry" countries with their F-16s would have been taking the fight to the MiG 29 while the Eurofighter, Gripen and Rafaele were sitting on the draughting boards of the European manufacturers. Post Cold War the original small fry have been joined by all the new NATO countries in their purchase of the F-16.

BTW Thanks TLB for your insight and reply.

Gnadenburg
14th Aug 2018, 01:07
When originally deployed into SEA during the tiff there, the loss rate in the first sorties flown was severe enough to get it withdrawn from the battle.

Thanks fdr.

This is from the top of my head from past material read and am happy to be out-googled by other armchair strategists. We can't go a page without the F111 being mentioned but these snippets a little unfair.

Yes, the trial deployment of F111's saw its withdrawal due wing-box failure and some unexplained crashes- possibly the radar used out of parameters on low level penetration missions into the North ( I trek and cave in the Laos/ Vietnam border region and anything below MSA must be terrifying ). Australia delayed its delivery too.

Before the RAAF took delivery in 1973, USAF F111's were flying with considerable success in the Christmas bombings and earlier Linebacker campaigns in 1972. They had losses but their missions were unescorted into an air defence area as sophisticated as Moscow's and with more anti-aircraft artillery batteries than Berlin 1945. In a murderous bombing campaign, perhaps they bombed a little more discriminantly too, than the carpet bombing by B52's and less specialized platforms.

I'm glad you presented Boyd. I wish more civilians in government knowledgable of his writings. Interestingly your comments about the development loop ring true with F35. In the RAAF's example we had a retiring AVM slamming governments wiring of the F18's for EW, stating it was a waste of money to have expensive jammers with a fleet of stealth aircraft. Now, there may well be evolving counters to the F35 whereby this Growler capability is necessary for its survival in some missions. The retiring AVM seems brash and simple on reflection, though his opinions could have left Australia considerably exposed. He was against the SH interim in total !

But the F111 may be the antithesis to Boyd. It's evolution and roles it played for the RAAF and USAF ( tank killing adaption in GW 1 for example) run counter to his thereoms. Even consider the F111 stand-in for the RAAF, the F4E, it required the RAAF to buy 48 F4E ( doubling the loaned fleet ) and a dozen out of production tankers to commit to the roles of the F111. So fundamental capabilities such as speed, new technology sensors and long range, were adapted quicker than say, the F4E capability of the day, or the F16's evolution toward a all weather multi-role from a simple day fighter.

As a maritime nation, submarines make for a compelling problem for any potential adverary.

A welcome drift. Submarines for Australia indeed. Should be nuclear of course but again the bogan debate for submarines over the years fails to use compelling historical evidence of their importance to our unique environment, more a case for them being diesel to placate the Left.

The compelling argument for airpower and submarines, the sea-air gap and Indonesian/ PNG archipelago, goes back 70 years to WW2. Battle of the Bismark sea with RAAF & USAF airpower and USN submarine operations and the sinking of Japanese convoys reinforcing New Guinea. The Take Ichi convoy is used as an example in naval institute press of two US submarines wiping out a Japanese infantry division without Allied loss ( interdicted in the Celebes Sea )- more Japanese losses here than direct combat losses on the Kokoda and Buna from Australian troops!

Nothing has changed- even the rise of China. China's trade and energy requires steaming on the Malacca Straits well before the South China Sea. A Chinese supertanker, following a blockade of this strait, has alternative choke-point routes, via Indonesia's Lombok and Sunda straits . Annex or invasion of Taiwan say, would see battles well beyond the Formosan straits, as China's starved of its trade and oil.

The positioning on the ADF with a push toward cutting-edge maritime and stealth airpower and the American repositioning to "training" bases in our north, suggests we are preparing to fight a war with China on the same seas as WW2. And the decision was made a fair while ago! Though recent published comments by former PM Paul Keating, to USN admirals, of a glug-glug scenario of allied surface combatants ending up at the bottom of the South China Seas, suggest misplaced geography in many quarters. The PLN in its modest blue water capabilities is no match for western stealth airpower and subs a long way from its ports in Hainan.

Going Boeing
14th Aug 2018, 10:22
Gnads, I agree with your views, in particular the quantum jump that the F111 was over the interim F4E’s. The increase in range, speed, payload & accuracy was very significant and was why they filled their role as a deterrent very effectively. Where the F4E was helpful was the way the RAAF crews were able upskill from the Canberra bombers before converting to the demanding roles of the F111.

fdr
14th Aug 2018, 14:58
G'nads;

The F-111 at the time of IOE was a problem child. Don't take this wrong, I happen to love the plane, always have, and having watched a loss of one have a certain soft spot for it and the operators. The survivability of it in the theatre at the time of IOE was the specific cause of its removal from ops downtown. Had the technology we have today been available, quite possibly the outcome would have been quite different, but that was not the case. To survive, EMCON was needed to be absolute, and the F-111 in common with the A-6A/E etc had problems at that time. The "Bone" is more of the same in that respect.

For AU operations in an area where integrated air defence was limited, then the F-111 is able to make a fashion statement, and range is certainly an attribute of the design. A bit of additional tech on some of the wing stations would have been nice, some design tradeoffs get regretted later.

Today, there is a cost related to range, Breguet's formula means combat range comes at a cost, and that is in dollars for the pounds required (size) or the package size needed to get a smaller aircraft with a limited fuel fraction to get places. AU has developed support capability greatly, which was needed, and will be more important over time in the absence of the range of the F-111. Large packages complicate the C3 issues, and bring in new ways to get messed up (or old ways, recall desert 1...)

Boyd had input into G-1.0, with the army taking a crash course in the importance of getting inside the decision loop of the adversary. Stormin' Normans tactics incorporated that as a concept, which was also of course in keeping with Fuller or Guderian, (Rommel was effective in his efforts as well, at our cost in the antibodies, but failed to manage his logistics tail, which was a chronic problem to the concept of blitzkrieg, where the tail was extended excessively by the success of the Schwerhpunkt doctrine, logistics infrastructure having a lower tech development at that time).

To the F-35, my reservations on that aircraft are fairly simple; it is excessively costly and has had too long a development cycle. Multi role capability comes with a high cost, and I suspect that is going to result in a deficit in some areas that have impact on the boots in the field, which at the end of the day, is still the focus of conflict in conventional conflicts. In asymmetric conflicts, these assets have little impact on dealing with threats. The new battle space in asymmetric warfare may well be better prosecuted by MQ-9's, or smaller units with improved ordnance.

AUS will be well served by the F-35, but it isn't cheap, and I am concerned with the CAS mission. Perhaps it will do well, and we will have enough of them to support boots, but I would be happier to see more dedicated CAS capability.

musings.

Going Boeing
3rd Sep 2018, 09:40
With 72 F35A’s ordered to replace the “classic” F-18’s, I’ve been thinking about what would be the best replacement for the Super Hornet’s & Growlers in the long term. Conventional thinking is that it would be more F35’s (possibly updated) but, if this hybrid F22/F35 project gets off the ground, it would make a brilliant high end replacement. The fact that it is being planned to be exported to Japan indicates that the US government ban on foreign sales of the F22 may be repealed.

Lockheed Pitching F-22/F-35 Hybrid to U.S. Air Force (http://www.asdnews.com/news/defense/2018/08/31/lockheed-pitching-f22f35-hybrid-us-air-force?hash=41f2081d111abd1ba611facf33dbd699&campaignid=54251&messageid=55322&l=3&utm_source=asdnews&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=day-z2-n2-hlb&utm_content=title)

Lookleft
3rd Sep 2018, 11:27
Maybe the Yanks have finally woken up to the fact that quantity as well as quality is needed to keep pace with the Chinese military when the inevitable conflict breaks out.

fdr
4th Sep 2018, 11:22
Maybe the Yanks have finally woken up to the fact that quantity as well as quality is needed to keep pace with the Chinese military when the inevitable conflict breaks out.

The rise of China since the 70's has come about by the opening of trade with the world at large. In more recent times, the long term planning of China is seen globally, with the amount of resource contracted from all parts of the world, showing there is a positioning to ensure supply of resources. The local hot spots are historically sensitive, but the establishment of military bases in contested waters is a new shift, and does come about from having confidence in the growing naval power at least in the South China Sea. The acoustics in that region frustrate both sides of the sub warfare outcome, but a sub remains a serious risk to any maritime trade and control of sea lanes. In the SCS, mining of the sea lanes and approaches to harbours would be a confounding factor to the prosecution of any war plan involving land grabs of EEZ resources based on maritime transport. Modern mines are a P.I.T.A, literally and figuratively.

Would be interesting to see how this plays out at the end of the next 50 year plan, but I doubt that the reality of benefit of international trade will be lost on the Chinese Govt, except of course that most wars occur due to misunderstandings and overly confident and exuberant aspirations of leaders with unfettered power. Then again Round 1 started because it was just time to have a bit of a fight, and it was easier to have it than get the royalty in charge to contemplate the consequences of their actions.

We tend to fight the last war at least in the beginning of the next one. Where there is an unexpected technological or tactical change that occurs, the outcome becomes more uncertain than otherwise would be the case. The F-35 is an impressive system, but whether it is the right tool for low intensity conflicts, CAS or force projection is the concern I have. The latest pricing estimates for the future frigates appears to be in the same category of capital risk. a $35B/9 Frigate [program?] cost would appear to put each keel into the category of a national treasure. Gunk holing around on a dark night inshore in hostile waters would need a pretty good rationale to be authorised.

There are times where high value assets with leading edge capabilities pay dividends, there are other times that a bicycle, pound of rice and a rifle is impossible to beat. Getting inside the opponents decision making tempo, and having some imagination [not limited to your own view of the world, but comprehending the adversaries position with honesty] makes a difference.

Gnadenburg
4th Sep 2018, 13:37
fdr

What about upgrading Super Hornets for a hi-lo mix? I'm sure they'd do a good enough job until we get a new generation helicopter / drone mix for the CAS role.

Flying over the South China Sea most working days and the escalation is dramatic. The cussing on 121.5 with the Japanese and Chinese having a particular ferocity; the Koreans don't mind a crack too. What a shame war in Asia and all its horror features in neither's school text books. There's another generation of aggrieved hawks emerging.

fdr
5th Sep 2018, 00:27
fdr

What about upgrading Super Hornets for a hi-lo mix? I'm sure they'd do a good enough job until we get a new generation helicopter / drone mix for the CAS role.

Flying over the South China Sea most working days and the escalation is dramatic. The cussing on 121.5 with the Japanese and Chinese having a particular ferocity; the Koreans don't mind a crack too. What a shame war in Asia and all its horror features in neither's school text books. There's another generation of aggrieved hawks emerging.

Gnads; expect that there is lots of merit in holding onto the Super Hornets, however the CAS task is not the right task for that aircraft. The SBS following round 2 was intended to show how great the contribution of 3.5mT of HE had been in achieving the outcome, however the evidence really never supported that contention. Viet Nam showed that there is no easy long range solution using air power alone to bend the will of a committed adversary, while also showing that the group think of the strategists as to how the other side would respond remains a problem. In the end, conflict involves people vs people on the ground, and CAS is effective where the right tool is used. Neither the F-18E/F or the F-35 is an ideal CAS aircraft without target designation/illumination. Now that is still a conventional view of conflict, one where another identifiable force enters an area and is engaged. Asymmetric warfare will as often as not confound planning efforts and make the discussion on airframe selections moot, however, Von Moltke's observation that No plan of operation reaches with any certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy's main force (restated as no plan survives contact with the enemy) led to Ike's addition that however the effort of planning was everything. Ike indicated that the plan (D-Day) fell apart promptly, but the effort of the planning had given insight to the staff and leaders that permitted the maintenance of momentum with the situational awareness that existed from the planning process. Hopefully that puts some value into review of such weighty decisions as how a nation spends its treasure in maintaining sovereign integrity.

The SCS has been a flashpoint for a long time, and is certainly a spot where a mis-step could end up in tears. In the event of even an accidental commencement of hostilities the $64 question is would national pride "trump" national interest/common sense. China appears strong economically, but it has been entirely due to the external demand until recent times. Getting into a tiff with your customers won't help maintain the growth that has supported the rise of the military capacity. China remains a bubble economy, and has been since the 90's, with a growing socio-economic imbalance between the rural and city populations. The latter have developed wealth from arbitrage with their foreign customers. Entering into hostilities that suspend export would give a pretty interesting internal problem for the leaders, while potentially giving the justification for the return to national manufacture in EU, US and other countries. The real concern is that there is still more rationality in Beijing than in the WH, where Woodward indicated today that in early 2017, Trump asked for a plan for pre-emptive strikes on NK.