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F-35: wise spending of our dollars?

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F-35: wise spending of our dollars?

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Old 9th Aug 2018, 07:06
  #121 (permalink)  
fdr
 
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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deployed into SEA during the tiff there, the loss rate in the first sorties flown was severe enough to get it withdrawn from the battle.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.

Last edited by fdr; 9th Aug 2018 at 07:20.
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Old 9th Aug 2018, 08:41
  #122 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by fdr View Post
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!!!
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Old 10th Aug 2018, 11:59
  #123 (permalink)  
 
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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
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Old 10th Aug 2018, 22:50
  #124 (permalink)  
 
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Rodney, start with Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War

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




Further study would be his 1964 Aerial Attack Study
Finally leading to his only other written work: Destruction & Creation

(Youtube playlist Conceptual Spiral if URL if the youtube insert doesn't work in your browser: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...569CDF59FE54A3 )

Last edited by CurtainTwitcher; 10th Aug 2018 at 23:06.
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Old 11th Aug 2018, 09:55
  #125 (permalink)  
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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

Last edited by fdr; 11th Aug 2018 at 22:51.
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Old 11th Aug 2018, 19:12
  #126 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 11th Aug 2018, 22:23
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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.
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Old 12th Aug 2018, 15:46
  #128 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 13th Aug 2018, 16:34
  #129 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Lookleft View Post
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
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Old 13th Aug 2018, 22:26
  #130 (permalink)  
 
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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.
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Old 14th Aug 2018, 00:07
  #131 (permalink)  
 
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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.

Last edited by Gnadenburg; 14th Aug 2018 at 04:40.
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Old 14th Aug 2018, 09:22
  #132 (permalink)  
 
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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.
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Old 14th Aug 2018, 13:58
  #133 (permalink)  
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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.

Last edited by fdr; 15th Aug 2018 at 01:36.
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