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-   -   SMH article re RAAF buying c-17s (https://www.pprune.org/australia-new-zealand-pacific/212029-smh-article-re-raaf-buying-c-17s.html)

Pass-A-Frozo 21st Feb 2006 10:32

The DMO project office would be simply given an agreement from Capability saying what they are to deliver. If the C-17 is chosen it will meet that. Purchases at the billions of dollars level would be directly approved by the Minister.

Numbskull: I'm quite happy for Australia to outsource the entire military if that's what the people want! It's a democracy. Why they don't use contractors for everything is that civilian organisations have a tendancy to not want to do something such as airdropping supplies or landing at an airfield where the risk from Surface-Air Fire is High. In fact if you can find one they will charge like a wounded bull (meaning the cheaper option would have been the in house option) due to monopolistic pricing. In fact for some of the short term heavy lift contracts, Australia could have BOUGHT the aircraft for the same amount as the charter fee! Also, Dangerous goods regulations prevent all our stuff that goes bang being carried on QANTAS aircraft. They do look at it.

numbskull 21st Feb 2006 11:08

Point0five, the cost of providing a heavy maint facility for 4 C-17 aircraft would be extemely prohibitive and would be an even larger waste of taxpayer money.

Frozo I would argue that most of the places that ADF personell are likely to encounter Surface-Air fire, we shouldn't be there in the first place. I agree that the ADF should provide humanitarian aid to those less fortunate than us in South East Asia and the Pcific Islands. I am reassured by your statement that they do look outsourcing these operations although I have never heard of it happening.

Point0Five 21st Feb 2006 11:14

That may well be so, but seeing as we're talking about spending tax payers dollars let's just entertain the idea of providing jobs for skilled Australian aviation workers by investing in the upper end of the market. After all, half the posts on PPRuNe are about investing in Australia, both at the National level and in industry and personnel.

numbskull 21st Feb 2006 12:41

Quote "let's just entertain the idea of providing jobs for skilled Australian aviation workers by investing in the upper end of the market"

What planet are you on?

The_Cutest_of_Borg 21st Feb 2006 13:47

Two billion for four aircraft?

Only in the military....

scran 21st Feb 2006 21:24

Cutest of Borg:

The $2Bn is total project - so that means 4 actual aircraft, and also spares support, GSE, training, etc....



If you don't understand.....don't comment :hmm:

Buster Hyman 22nd Feb 2006 00:47

Don't forget the Steak Knives Scran!!!:} :ouch:

ozbiggles 22nd Feb 2006 02:22

Numbskull, your words
'I would argue that most of the places that ADF personell are likely to encounter Surface-Air fire, we shouldn't be there in the first place'.
What planet are you on? So anywhere that can shoot at an aircraft we shouldn't go? Anyone who has an manpad, RPG or AK-47 can do what ever they want where ever they want? Timor had a serious air threat possibilitiy, are you saying the ADF shouldn't have gone there?
As for the C-17 would you prefer we send all our equipment (and it used to be man power too until common sense prevailed) on the cheapest bidder? So everyone knows what we are up to, what we have and when and where it is?

scran 22nd Feb 2006 02:36

Buster - standard inventory........:rolleyes:



Don't forget the sheepskin seat covers you mean.......;)

Captain Sand Dune 22nd Feb 2006 03:26

[QUOTE][Anyone who has an manpad, RPG or AK-47 can do what ever they want where ever they want? Timor had a serious air threat possibilitiy, are you saying the ADF shouldn't have gone there?
/QUOTE]

Doesn't stop some looney with a rifle or (heaven forbid) something more lethal :eek: standing at the airfield boundary of any military airfield right here in Australia taking pot shots either. What then?:hmm:

The sheepskin seat covers are to tease the Kiwi exchange pilots:}

ROKAPE 22nd Feb 2006 05:39


Originally Posted by scran
Cutest of Borg:
The $2Bn is total project - so that means 4 actual aircraft, and also spares support, GSE, training, etc....
If you don't understand.....don't comment :hmm:

'scran' I think more TAXPAYERS should comment on things that are not understood then perhaps we may avoid expensive mistakes.
Have you had an innate understanding on the subject of every one of your 1500+ posts?
$2 billion is a LARGE amount of money to acquire four aircraft, no matter how you dress it up. I do agree with the requirement for ADF heavy lift.

Captain Sand Dune 22nd Feb 2006 07:33


I do agree with the requirement for ADF heavy lift.
But immediately prior..........



$2 billion is a LARGE amount of money to acquire four aircraft, no matter how you dress it up.
WTF!?!?!

A C17 ain't exactly a small aircraft. Any better options, or are we just going to limit ourselves to ill informed criticisms like the other instant experts here? .:hmm:
As previously mentioned, the cost quoted is not just for the aircraft alone.

Pass-A-Frozo 22nd Feb 2006 07:45

Don't forget an aircraft such as the C-17 isn't used just for terminal to terminal operations such as an airline with it's 747. The aircraft has to be capable of carrying all that stuff, and unloading / loading itself without GSE.
Then throw in military specific fitment such as EW. Anything Milspec and you can add a few zero's on the end. However, it's probably best to wait to see what the project actually includes (e.g. I know for a fact it includes mission planning systems etc too).

Taildragger67 22nd Feb 2006 16:13


Originally Posted by scran
Cutest of Borg:
The $2Bn is total project - so that means 4 actual aircraft, and also spares support, GSE, training, etc....
If you don't understand.....don't comment :hmm:

With respect, Scran old man, Borg's question isn't exactly unreasonable.

For us non-Ron types, when we read that XYZ airlines has placed an order for its first four 747s, say, we don't usually expect to read that they're paying in the billions for them.

So why is it that when it comes to military, four aircraft cost that much?

Yes I know the standard bumph about training, spares, etc. but doesn't my hypothetical airline also have to cop those costs?

I think I, Borg and others are just worried about the $2000 hammers and $1m khazis and someone saying 'Government contract = rip-off opportunity".

So how about helping us simple types "understand"?

Buster Hyman 22nd Feb 2006 21:03

But, if XYZ didn't have 747's to start with, then it probably would cost them billions. They just don't tell the punters.

I could be wrong (I was once before) but, doesn't the Govt. procurement mean that they include the entire package? XYZ would not readily admit the total cost due to their interests being none of their competitors business. XYZ's purchase may include spares, but does it include training, sims, hangars, additional staffing, GSE, etc

Just a thought...

wessex19 22nd Feb 2006 22:42

I know what you can get for $1 billion. 11 thirty-five year old helos with some glass in them that won't talk to its weapon systems. Hey, but everythings ok, just don't fly this billion dollar squadron at night or in IMC. How many A-4G's could 805 squadron had with a Billion bucks!!!!

So the C-17 seems like great value to me, I mean it might cost $2 billion dollars to get these bad boys in RAAF colours however they are a state of the art, and a proven platform. C-17 works!!!!!!

scran 23rd Feb 2006 01:27

Taildragger, Rokape,


See comments by Pass-a-frozo, Capt Sand Dune, Buster etc.


This is a big aircraft, capable of landing on semi-prepared (dirt) strips, in areas where nasty people shoot at you.......

The total cost (because we have to explain the FULL amount, not hide costs like Qantas etc as described by Buster) includes spares for a certain number of years, initial crew training (and probably continuity training in a simulator - so we don't have to buy one), special GSE for that aircraft, probably some maintenance support etc.

In other words, we have to buy enough "stuff" to support the aircraft.

Don't get me wrong - they are expensive - but ask the Brits what they think of theirs. Initially they "leased" them (for an amount close to the cost of buying them I understand) but have now decided that the aircraft is so good they will buy them (and one other they hope) outright.


And Wessex - thats what you get for buying second hand. Mind you, they Kiwis seem to get theirs to work................

Gnadenburg 23rd Feb 2006 01:55

Australian defence procurement practice deserves close scrutiny and more public interest should be welcomed- an apathetic, ill-informed public could induce a New Zealand syndrome ( granted environmental factors and gene pools come into play accross the Tasman aswell ).

Life support costs for a programme should be self-explanatory- a good close to home example of how these costs factor are recent Indonesian bargain basement purchases of Russian aircraft. Look cheap up front, paid for with a little hard currency and a little poultry trade, but come without appropriate support infrastructure or even weapons!

On the other side of the coin, what would the Singaporians get for two billion? Their procurement policy of buying off the shelf equipment, with hard negotiations gets them considerable bang-for-buck.

Hopefully, two billion will get the RAAF six of these wonderful aircraft. Their primary purpose aside, for the next 40 years they will be synonymous in the region for disaster relief and humanitarian operations; aswell as very useful aircraft in getting Australian and New Zealand ( free of charge ) expatriates out of harms way quickly.

As a short postscript, perhaps Flight Looey Frozo will be kept out of the civilian world a little longer by the C17. :}

Pass-A-Frozo 23rd Feb 2006 03:29

If you want to look at the "package" you have to wait until the project actually formally chooses the C-17, and announces it. This has not happened.

As for per unit cost, what would the cost of the A380 be per aircraft if we included all the runway works at Aussie airports, changes to terminals, cost of every aerobridge it will use, any new tools, training of all maint pers etc. That is what is included in Aussie defence projects. Otherwise you get what happens with the Indonesians - they buy something, it works fine for the first 6 months then 3/4's of their SQN sit idle , U/S on the tarmac - or they have submarines that are left as very expensive - incapable surface vessels.

I totally agree that defence procurement should be open to the eyes of the taxpayer (within reason - e.g. not announcing classified capability we purchase). Time will tell what this contract actually costs and what it includes.

Keep me in with the C17? Hmm.. interesting, might have to start being extra nice to DPO :} However more interestingly, I'll choose if I stay in based on pay and conditions etc. Notice the flying pay review outcome?

griffinblack 23rd Feb 2006 08:37

Gnadenburg,

Given your outspoken opinion that those in military should not comment on what transpires in industry (particularly from a financial point of view), I find it interesting that you feel qualified to comment on finances associated with military procurement and the consequent capability. Having said that, I recognise the validity of your comments and all the other posters, irrespective of their individual position.

Wessex19 or Scran,

Word is that the Seasprite may be scrapped – do you or any other naval folk know the likelihood of this?


The most recent addition of Australian Aviation quotes the unit cost of a C17 at A$220m. That would put four acft at A$880. I am not a procurement expert, but I understand project costs are normally double the acft costs- I am happy if anyone can correct that assumption. If that is the case, that would put the procurement for the strategic lift capability (for 4 acft) at A$1.75 – A$1.8 billion dollars.

Don’t necessarily be fooled by a “good deal”. If we do get a good deal, we are probably purchasing the capability on the cheap (without the associated equipment, training, documentation etc) or we will get screwed with the support costs – after all manufacturers don’t give away their stuff, they will always turn a profit, one way or another. We have recent projects as testament to that.


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