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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 21st Jul 2018, 01:55
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FOI
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F-35: wise spending of our dollars?

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?

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Old 21st Jul 2018, 02:03
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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.
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Old 21st Jul 2018, 02:27
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Anecdotally, the F-111 suffered strikingly similar set backs and criticisms leading up to its entry into service and look how that panned out.
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Old 21st Jul 2018, 02:31
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Originally Posted by Yournamehere View Post
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.
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Old 21st Jul 2018, 02:38
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Originally Posted by junior.VH-LFA View Post
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.
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Old 21st Jul 2018, 02:42
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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.
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Old 21st Jul 2018, 02:43
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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”.
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Old 21st Jul 2018, 02:48
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Originally Posted by Lookleft View Post
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?

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Old 21st Jul 2018, 03:17
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Originally Posted by FOI View Post


“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.
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Old 21st Jul 2018, 03:51
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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.

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Old 21st Jul 2018, 06:50
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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.
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Old 21st Jul 2018, 07:11
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Four Corners ran a story on this 5 years ago. Worth a look.

Reach for the Sky - Four Corners
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Old 21st Jul 2018, 07:29
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Originally Posted by FOI View Post
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.
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Old 21st Jul 2018, 07:36
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Originally Posted by gulliBell View Post
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.
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Old 21st Jul 2018, 08:18
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Originally Posted by ftrplt View Post
.. if airborne.
..which it wasn’t.

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

*disclaimer* I already know the answer.

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

I dont know know that one.
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Old 21st Jul 2018, 09:40
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Originally Posted by ruprecht View Post
How owe many of our Hornets have we lost to mechanical failure?
depends if you call a Growler a Hornet
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Old 21st Jul 2018, 09:56
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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. 🙄
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Old 21st Jul 2018, 10:40
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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.
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Old 21st Jul 2018, 11:04
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Originally Posted by Keg View Post
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.
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Old 21st Jul 2018, 11:29
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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.

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)
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