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5th C-17 for RAAF

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5th C-17 for RAAF

Old 5th Mar 2011, 10:24
  #21 (permalink)  
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Engineers needing practice.

Back end o' the Bus. Your comment re: C17 engineers needing the practice begs the question. "Why do they need practice"? Are you saying they lack the requisite skills or are the aircraft so reliable that the engineers have little unscheduled maintenance to do?
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Old 5th Mar 2011, 15:49
  #22 (permalink)  
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Whilst the engineers may flex their muscle, let the proof be found in the pudding.

With heavy aircraft the RAAF has a record second to one in safety and the condition of our aircraft are the envy of many.


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Old 5th Mar 2011, 16:01
  #23 (permalink)  
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Australian Military Deployability

Australian defence planners seem to believe that 2 x LPDs (aircraft carriers) will be the ultimate answer for deployment of military forces offshore (albeit sluggishly with substantial protection penalties) and they have really neglected tactical airlift capabilities for quick response, especially throughout our neighbouring tropical archipelago characterised by numerous rudimentary airfields and limited aviation fuel storage.

No argument that more C-17s would be beneficial, but the USAF and RAF will not operate them into scruffy airstrips and the MRTT will be restricted to airliner standard airfields, also requiring complementary freight handling gear.

The C-27J might be a good Caribou replacement if acquired downstream, but will not substitute for essential C-130 tactical deployment capability.

The obvious need is for more C-130 capacity and modification of C-130H to provide flight refuelling and gunship capabilities for long range/endurance firepower. The Herc transportable Iroquois has been shed and disposal is intended for Blackhawk despite Australia not having any capacity for long-range flight refuelable helo support for submarine operations and search and rescue within our vast area of international responsibility.

The ability to quickly deploy M113 armoured personnel carriers by air has also been somewhat compromised because DoD was conned into stretching the standard vehicle (via a now 10 year behind schedule program), thus taking up more cargo hold space.

ADF military preparedness/credibility is shrinking as inexcusable capability gaps continue to emerge throughout the thinly-veiled unified force while billions of dollars are being squandered on inappropriate flawed programs, aiming toward a mythical Force 2030 structure.

An unjustifiable huge outlay of $3.5billion seems intended on just 24 very expensive MH-60R helicopters (or the even more outrageously costly NFH90) whereas easy fitment of the modular AQS-18(v)-3 Dipping Sonar System to Sea King and/or Seahawk would provide an adequate cost-effective ASW capability.

$3.5billion would be much better spent on another 12 x C-130 and enhancement of existing Hercules assets (plus flight refuelling modifications for some Blackhawks); but the question arises whether such vast amounts of funding are affordable with ongoing compounding annual increases in defence expenditure projected out to Year 2030 that will soon cost Australian taxpayers near $30billion per annum?

Last edited by Bushranger 71; 6th Mar 2011 at 04:38.
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Old 6th Mar 2011, 09:04
  #24 (permalink)  
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For a moment there I thought Bushranger71 was going to turn this thread into another anti MRH90 rant

Anyway go for the extra C-17. They can carry heaps more than a Herc and can even get 3 blackhawks in the back where a C130 can only squeeze in one!

Even better - cancel one or two F35's and take the fleet to six. Like I mean it is not as if the fast jets atually deploy these days. (Is it any rumour the F18's are being transferred to Training Command?).

As for the C130 fleet - the H's days are numbered - too many years at low level have taken their toll on the airframes. And the army keeps buying equipment that either won't fit into the back or is too heavy.

The RAAF could do with the J's what the Army does with the Chinook's - trade them in on newer J's - ones with electronic locks, flip top rollers, high speed ramps and other newer mods.

Orrrrr, go european and get the A400 - still a prop but bigger, can carry more and go further than a C130. I mean the it's not like the eurpoeans would sell us a dodgy aircraft now would they guys - just look at other fine eurpoean products we have got - tiger, MRH, tankers - surely we couldn't go wrong going eurpoean.

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Old 6th Mar 2011, 10:22
  #25 (permalink)  
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C130J-30 v's Airbus M400

Frazzled. I think the RAAF would prefer to stick with the Lockheed product for many reasons, not least of all 53 years of operating the type in four different models. The Airbus is totally unproven, not yet in service and very much more costly per unit to acquire. Add to that spares, support equipment, tech and aircrew training as well as a Simulator. With the C17A and the C130 mix I think Ronnie has it pretty right, except for a replacement for the Caribou. King Air's are by no means a Caribou replacement but the Spartan may well fit the role.
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Old 6th Mar 2011, 17:44
  #26 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Frazzled
For a moment there I thought Bushranger71 was going to turn this thread into another anti MRH90 rant
It's in there.

Br71 wouldn't be Br71 if he didn't find some way to stick that in no matter what the subject.

Originally Posted by Br71
An unjustifiable huge outlay of $3.5billion seems intended on just 24 very expensive MH-60R helicopters (or the even more outrageously costly NFH90)
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Old 6th Mar 2011, 18:22
  #27 (permalink)  
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Hello Frazzled and GreenKnight 121; your sarcasm unnecessary and I think you have missed my point re Australia needing sufficient tactical airlift capacity to quickly deploy say a battalion group sized force with suitable mobile supporting arms into pretty rudimentary airfields around the neighbouring island archipelago. The closer they can be lodged to any prospective scene of action, the lesser the need for additional intra-theatre transportation, at least in the short term, which compounds the logistics and cost of mounting an operation in remote areas.

The C-17 of course provides a much improved strategic transport capability and the LPDs will enable some considerably slower deployment of forces and their hardware (with significant escort overheads); but neither will necessarily be the most cost-effective insertion/extraction means in some circumstances. As for Australia committing to further military involvement much beyond our neighbouring island chain in the future, that seems to me a tad unlikely.

In multiple threads, I have questioned why Australia did/does not progressively optimise proven in-service military assets (like Kiowa, Iroquois, Blackhawk, Seahawk, Sea King, Caribou where cost-effective) in lieu of prematurely involving in hugely expensive replacement programs acquiring significantly unproven hardware. Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky are now offering local upgrade of what they consider relatively low time ADF Blackhawks and Seahawks for sale to other nations, which is of course an enticement (bribe) to swing sale of the MH-60R. But if enhancement of these types can be accomplished in Australia and they are in demand by other nations, why then are they being replaced in the ADF at huge cost?

I am sure the Herc guys can confirm just what useful military service was achieved by other nations from the C-130A and E models disposed of by Australia and doubtless, the USAF and/or USMC would really like to get our C-130H for refurbishment and conversion for special operations functions. We shed the B707 creating yet another capability gap and reputedly, some smart operator has now leased one of them back to us on a lucrative contract!

The RAAF once had 2 full strength Hercules squadrons totalling 24 aircraft with integral Air Force maintenance (except for aircraft depot level servicing at Qantas) which perhaps enabled about 14 aircraft continuously available for operations. What on-line availability is achievable today from maybe only 19 operable C-130 with more out-sourced maintenance? And when the new smell wears off the C-17s, can we expect any better than 50 percent on-line availability?

Shrinking military capacity is not only applicable to the Navy as a like situation prevails throughout the whole ADF because Australia has embarked on overly-ambitious futuristic defence planning which is costing the nation dearly and primarily benefiting the major arms conglomerates. A big financial reality check will confront our defence planners sometime soon considering the other expenditure priorities facing a growing nation.

Last edited by Bushranger 71; 6th Mar 2011 at 22:26.
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Old 6th Mar 2011, 18:46
  #28 (permalink)  
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"just look at other fine eurpoean products we have got - tiger, MRH, tankers - surely we couldn't go wrong going eurpoean."

How are those seasprites working out for you?
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Old 6th Mar 2011, 21:44
  #29 (permalink)  
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Someone mentioned fitting a Blackhawk into a Herc. Is that do-able without a major de-construction? There wasn't a lot of space remaining with a broken down Huey.
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Old 6th Mar 2011, 23:19
  #30 (permalink)  
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Here we go again....
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Old 6th Mar 2011, 23:39
  #31 (permalink)  
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I think that B71 might be a Googlebot with automatic cut and paste.

The C17 really has been a top purchase, both in capability and contractual model. All the help that has been provided to our regional neighbours (Pakistan, Indonesia, NZ etc) in times of need is exceptional. A 5th aircraft will be a big plus.

Doors Off
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Old 6th Mar 2011, 23:59
  #32 (permalink)  
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How's the Nimrod going for you?
It would be a mistake for Europeans to underestimate the poor reputation here of European Defence suppliers.
There appears to be arrogance/condescension displayed by European defence suppliers to any customers who are not European- it is wearing thin here.

Last edited by rjtjrt; 7th Mar 2011 at 00:00. Reason: Spelling
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 06:00
  #33 (permalink)  
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Doors Off, and now reacher, if you both are serving officers, I find myself hoping you're really junior serving officers, for the open disrespect you display to a retired officer - and veteran - who's flown more real combat sorties than you've had kindy lunches is distressing, to say the least, and could only be forgiven by allowing for the exuberance of youth.

If you're not junior officers, you're something infinitey further down the food chain - Russell Hill PR lackeys employed to preach today's ADF heirachy/multi national arms companies line (which, let's face it, for far too many years now has amounted to the same thing, almost verbatim).

Rather than dismiss what Bushranger71 says out of hand as you sprout the "company line", apparently without question, (as you, Doors Off, have done with some regularity with totally unnecessary personal abuse thrown in on this and other threads), why not take a moment to ask yourself if Bushranger might not have some basis for his (to you) apparently silly ideas.

Have either of you actually taken the time to do a comparison of the hot and high performance of the Tiger, MRH-90, Blackhawk with the Super Huey? If you're serving officers, I can only assume the information should be easily available to you. How long would it take you? An hour or two? (Just a hint for young players though from one with considerable first hand experience of promised performance figures from EADS versus actual performance figures, be very, very skeptical on any figures you get from a European helicopter manufacturer. But if either of you are even remotely associated with either the Tiger or the MRH-90 programmes, I'm assuming you'd know that already.)

You might not accept it, but it's a fact that money available for Defence spending, both acquisition and day to day operational costs, will become increasingly hard to find in any future government. (Don't think that the Libs, if they ever get the Redhead out of Bogan-villa, won't pull a David Cameron on you, while if Labor stay in power, they'll have to find the money to give Bob Brown what he wants from somewhere [as well as the carbon tax], and you can bet Defence will be the proverbial canary in the coal mine - the first to fall off the proverbial perch from oxygen starvation.)

I can assure you, Bushranger 71's call for the retention and upgrading of existing airframes, along with his championing of the Super Huey is not the rantings of an old war horse who wants to stick with the old charger he knows. It's more a voice in the wilderness saying that almost nothing we've spent (far too much) money on lately is delivering (or has yet delivered) the goods. The one exception, as you'll find Bushranger 71 agrees with you on, is the C-17. However, if you'll take a moment to read what he said about the C-17 in his last posts, as great an asset as it has proven itself to be for the ADF, it, along with the Navy's new aircraft carriers, simply cannot do the job a C-130 or a C-27 could do in getting an ADF force close into a crisis area in what could righly be called our strategic backyard - PNG or the Pacific Islands - in good time.

In our current situation, with the bulk of our Army committed to the Middle East, another C-17 at the cost of not acquiring more C-130s (or a real Caribou replacement) makes sense. However, some seventy years ago now, this country was in exactly that same situation, with the bulk of its Army, Navy and Air Force committed to the Middle East and Europe, when the situation at home changed dramatically - and very, very quickly.

If there's anyone out there who is absolutely certain we'll never find ourselves unexpectedly in a similar situation again, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you. One owner, freshly painted...
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 06:12
  #34 (permalink)  
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You are in sniper mode again Doors Off. I never said the C-17 was not a good buy, especially for strategic transport; but it is more limited in application than the C-130 for tactical operations throughout the regional archipelago due operating constraints regarding scruffy airfields.

Somebody might care to answer these questions:

How did/do Army Aviation get Blackhawks to and from East Timor, initially and now? (Perhaps C-17 operations there might now be acceptable).

And how did the RNZAF get their Iroquois there when they had to provide relief helo effort?
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 07:32
  #35 (permalink)  
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These debates mirror the bean counters view of warfare and military hardware.

The 5th C-17 is a very low risk acquisition given we have the rest of the support infrastructure in place. Makes good economic sense.

Bit like the Super Hornet buy given that we are buying an upgraded model of something we are familiar with. This I'm told was a big reason rather than going for the Strike Eagle. The crews require around a five hour conversion from the A model to the F model. Of course F-111 drivers and WSO's are different but they would be with whatever was purchased.

The J model Herc was another good buy for the same reasons.

Helo wise, the M model Blackhawk and some more Chinooks might have been a better option than the MRH90. Works for the biggest user of battlefield air - the US Army. I was told at Avalon by someone at high Navy operational level that the MRH90 has some big limitations for at-sea operations - no auto blade fold [limits ops in heavy weather etc] and the composite structure cannot be field repaired like metal. The corrosion argument is a furphy as the 37 year old Sea Kings don't have corrosion issues but rather old and unreliable avionics.

The message really is to cut your cloth to suit your budget and ops needs, not either of these.
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 08:05
  #36 (permalink)  
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If doors off and reacher are snivelling lackeys and probably in bed with Eurocopter, then why isn't anyone accusing BR71 of being a Bell / Textron plant, trolling for business for his re-engineered Hueys? You can't have it both ways.

The reason the Black Hawk exists is because of the lessons learnt and the vulnerabilities discovered in the Huey, arising from Vietnam. MRH90 / NH90 is a newer take on this twin turbine, AFCS, crashworthy, very powerful style of aircraft.

Everybody loves the Huey, but no-one really wants to take it to war. They built over 10 000 of them, and there are not many left around. Why is that? Could it be that things have moved along since 1958? An EH Holden with a nice modern engine will still have its butt kicked by a new Commodore.
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 09:52
  #37 (permalink)  
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Maybe recall of some previous military activities in our regional archipelago might better illustrate points I have tried to make regarding tactical airlift flexibility.

For those unaware; Iroquois transportation by C-130 requires removal of main rotor blades, rotor head, mast, tail rotor which are then stowed in manufacturer protective containers or secured to purpose-built transportation rigs. Preparation takes about one hour and the aircraft with ground handling wheels fitted to the skids is then wheeled nose first into the C-130 cargo hold and all of the removed gear stowed beneath the Huey fuselage.

Exercise 'Sidewalk' PNG in 1970 was pre-Vietnam deployment training for an SAS squadron. The helo requirement was for 5SQN based at Fairbairn (Canberra) to deploy 3 Iroquois to Wewak by C-130.

Wewak had limited airfield apron area of pretty low pavement strength and a small crane was pre-arranged locally for lifting of Iroquois mast and assembled main rotor system. Herc arrivals were at 20 minute intervals and the detachment of around 12 aircrew and maybe 6 or so maintenance personnel swiftly removed all gear under Loadmaster supervision, wheeling the first Huey onto a grassed verge for re-assembly. The groundies began assembling the Iroquois and the first Herc was taxying for departure as the second one arrived in the circuit. Process repeated and also for the third C-130 another 20 minutes later. The first Iroquois got airborne for a test flight as the third Herc was taxying for departure, about 1 hour after the first arrival. Slick teamwork between Hercules and Iroquois squadrons.

Forward to 1976 with 9SQN based at Amberley having 8 aircraft deployed in 3 separate detachments across the northern Indonesian/PNG archipelago to support Army Survey Corps operations for virtually the whole year. Additional C-130 deployments of 4 aircraft to New Zealand for a major combined forces exercise, SAS training in WA and earthquake relief at Guadalcanal are some other commitments I recall. Just guessing now, but probably about 30 C-130s in and out of Amberley over the year ferrying Iroquois and personnel far and wide, mainly into northern airfields with airstrips and parking aprons of limited pavement strength

C-130 tactical deployment capability is essential throughout the island archipelago including for sizeable capacity utility helos with adequate hot and high performance. The Huey II fits the requirement and the ADF could have 50 for just $100 million.

But; militarily asinine shedding of the Iroquois capability (for which service chiefs from CDF down should be held accountable) is not the main thrust of this post, which is principally to emphasise the need for adequate C-130 capacity for swift deployment of a whole range of military gear appropriate for operations in Australia's neighbouring regional wet tropics archipelago area of potential military interest.
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 12:41
  #38 (permalink)  
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I think what you're really saying is that Australia needs a utility helicopter capability in addition to a battlefield chopper capability. The US Army now has the UH-72A [EC145] for this task. The issue in Australia is the misguided concept of a single type multi-rolling in an attempt to reduce the number of types needed as we have relatively few numbers of machines in many categories.
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 12:47
  #39 (permalink)  
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No company line here, about as far away as possible in fact. What I was expressing was my dismay at having to go around this buoy yet again. Yes I am an officer in TSV but I'm also watching A SQN deal with what they are given, not looking backwards wishing to introduce yet another piece of kit. I have no doubt BR71 has every good intention backed up with plenty of experience however the fact remains we are getting MRH and there's not much we can do about.

FWIW the push for a LUH will come more from the ARH program (and 173 if recent events are taken into effect) than the MRH as the guys in DWN quickly find out just how much of tail is required for that little possum.

As for the C17 if it survives the recent media beat up WRT the SDR, Navy amphib capability and Gus about to retire then so much the better. And while they don't have an issue with getting in and out of Dili apparently the locals don't really appreciate them.

As for points of agreement, I'm very on board with the AAR and gunship re-rolling of the H's. If only someone in 16 BDE (or is it now Standards Br in FORCOMD) would sign off on the risk for AAR with the new MH-47G we are getting....Hang on, that's right we were meant to order them but ended up ordering the Foxtrot and doing the Aussie mod. Again.
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Old 7th Mar 2011, 16:39
  #40 (permalink)  
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Hi reacher; your post # 39 very interesting.

Army Aviation drove the push to shed the Iroquois and the ADF helicopter rationalisation strategy misguidedly aimed mainly at reducing the number of types in service to about 4; but it has already proven farcical with the leasing of others which would not have been necessary had they simply put some well-proven types in service through manufacturer uipgrade programs. Now, the aim seemingly is to shoot for the EC135/EC145 at maybe 3 times or more the cost of a Huey II, subjecting the taxpayer to further abuse with apparent shrugging of shoulders by many within the Australian Defence realm!

But back to my theme regarding C-130 tactical capacity. If Project Air 9000 is being quietly massaged yet again seeking the MH-47G in lieu of the MH-47F, what are the defence planners in Canberra going to do regarding C-130 flight refuellers for helo operations?

Last edited by Bushranger 71; 7th Mar 2011 at 17:13.
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