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Australian Air Combat Musings

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posted on Dec, 15 2006 @ 05:29 AM
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A update on the interim fighter situation here in Oz. Looks like the Super Hornet is on the cards, interestingly the twin seat F model is the one being discussed.


Australia may buy a squadron of 24 F-18F Super Hornet fighter jets as back-up amid growing concerns over delays in the delivery of the JSF.

Fairfax newspapers reported that Defence Minister Brendan Nelson had confirmed that the Government was in discussions with the US government for the purchase of the Super Hornets.
The aircraft are likely to cost about $90 million each.

The move is an apparent about-face for the government, which has repeatedly said there would be no need for a stop-gap to fill the hole between the phase-out of the RAAF's fleet of aging F/A-18 Hornets and F-111s and the introduction of the JSF.


Source

So, after categorically denying that an interim fighter was needed as recently as October, what has swayed the Australian leadership? With JSF testing underway, there must be some reason why the backflip has occured, and so quickly. To go from talking about nothing, to a very specific platform solution, there has to be reasons and justification. We're yet to here what it is.

But from a pure plane-spotting point of view - cool!




posted on Dec, 16 2006 @ 03:36 AM
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Australia should buy a mix of F and G models at least they could be used
as jammers and refuel F 35's when they come.



posted on Dec, 19 2006 @ 10:24 PM
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$3bn on Super Hornet fighters

Patrick Walters, National security editor
December 20, 2006
DEFENCE Minister Brendan Nelson intends to ram through a $3 billion purchase of 24 F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft, amid concerns Australia may lack a fully deployable air combat capability early next decade.

Dr Nelson has accelerated plans to buy the upgraded Hornets through a US Defence Department purchase from the US navy. His swift action came as a surprise to senior defence officials on Russell Hill.
The decision to buy an expensive interim fighter will generate a major rethink of the 2006-16 defence capability plan, with the prospect of a cut in the 100-strong Joint Strike Fighter fleet planned for the RAAF.
Senior defence sources said Dr Nelson wanted to run no risk of an air combat capability gap, with the F-111 strike force due to retire in 2010.
A key concern is that the Joint Strike Fighter, destined to become the RAAF's new frontline combat aircraft, may be subject to congressional budget cuts, leading to production delays.
On current plans, the first JSF squadron will enter operational service in Australia in 2014-15.

www.theaustralian.news.com.au...

Looks like its a goer

I would of preferred RAFALE or TYPHOON but thats life.

[edit on 19-12-2006 by Jezza]



posted on Dec, 19 2006 @ 11:19 PM
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It certainly is going ahead. I'm still staggered at the speed though. What has changed so fundamentally to the anticipated threat environment out until when JSF comes online? Especially considering the HUG jets will be equipped with later model AMRAAM, JHMCS, ASRAAM and improved self protection systems. If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them!



posted on Dec, 20 2006 @ 08:10 AM
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The USN, meanwhile, is believed to be close to announcing that it needs up to 200 more Super Hornets to fill a fighter shortfall caused by delays to the JSF programme.

More proof that the F-35 Concept is in trouble, if the US are looking at buying extra bugs to cover a gap, then everyone else should start sitting up and taking notice!

link y

Read this it may well say something is happening behind the scenes.



posted on Dec, 28 2006 @ 09:22 PM
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Oh Please.

Let's cover the ENTIRE relevant text shall we?

>>
Any delays to the RAAF's JSF order would result in an air combat capability gap that could last four years or more.

The RAAF has established an Air Combat Transition Office to develop "contingency options" - including leasing fighters - to ensure Australia's air combat edge is maintained.

...

The fighter replacement project is the most expensive in Australia's history and the RAAF expects to get about 100 aircraft for between $12-$16 billion.

The planes will not even be ordered until late next year - if the Howard Government proceeds to contract. The JSF, which individually costs more than $100 million, is not due to make its maiden flight from Lockheed Martin's Texas plant until late next year.

The F-111s are massively expensive to keep in the air, but must remain in service until a major upgrade of the RAAF's 71 F/A-18 Hornet fighters is completed after 2010.

The upgrade will allow the Hornets to carry short-range cruise missiles and to better defend themselves against electronic threats. New aircraft projects and major technical upgrades historically run at least one or two years late.

"Australia will not accept an air combat shortfall," Dr Nelson said.

This follows air force chief Air Marshal Geoff Shepherd saying at a Senate inquiry this month the RAAF would not allow a gap to develop.
>>

1. Four years costs millions. Fine. New fighters, /even as a lease/ cost BILLIONS. Be nice until the 'gap' passes. As we were when our 'window of vulnerability' brought us AfG and 007. Still here ain't we? Are the USSRusskians? Nope.

2. If Oz was all that scared of the gap in A2A capabilities, they would not be spending money to HUG The Bug -as a primary structural and A2G implementation to replace the Mudchuck-.

3. Why is it that nobody thinks to look at the cartridge ballistics but will jabber on endlessly about the check pattern on the stock or the chromed bolt handle?

Last I heard, Meteor would be ready by 2010. Meteor + APG-73 (equivalent tech) will make the Bug-A the equal of the Bug Deux + AIM-120C7.

Easy.

You all get the wind up your skirts when the U.S. doesn't sell the latest and greatest software mod or, heaven forbid, /source codes/ to you. Why not 'DEMAND' that Euromissile or EADS or whomever agree to sell you the WEAPONS SYSTEM which will let you regrab air parity by the balls?

Surely, a megadeath dealing arms manufacturing conglomerate that has yet to sell the Rafale and has all of (gasp) TWO MICROBUY CUSTOMERS for both the Gripen and Flubber would be willing to sell anything to anyone?

Lastly, I think you should all take a look at the force on force numbers here. Indonesia has what, /1/ Su-30 and a couple Su-27SKs? Malaysia has 18 Su-30 aircraft to go with an as-yet undetermined mix of Super Bugs (i.e. blow stuff up or shoot stuff down but never both).

If HALF your inventory is mission ready with the others down for various problems or PDM that means that, /at most/, they can generate 5 sections of 2 aircraft or 2 flights and a mini-WACS Combat Controller capability.

Depending on which version it is, RVV-AE buys them 60-80km and R-27 on the order of 100km. Tactical dictates will halve this based on limited TWS volumes and compatible rails+inventory. So you are looking at between 2 and 4 shots per plane from 30-50km out.

That's 20 SARH-ER or 40 ARH-Export missiles. From 10 planes.

KILL THE ARCHER NOT THE BLOODY ARROW!

With numbers for Meteor going up as high as 150-180km in some reports, an F/A-18A with two outboard rails plus 1-2 AIM-120 shoulder stations (the ASRAAM being worthless as teats on a boar hog in a true LRAAM fight) should be able to put 40-45 (out of 70 odd) jets in the air on the superiority of Western Logistics and have half of those be capable of 2v1 = '.80 SSPK' double shot leveraging with the ramAAM. 20X2=40 shots from over 60km. /2 to saturate the threat = 20 kills.

And STILL have another 20-40 (LDP dependent)



posted on Dec, 30 2006 @ 02:53 AM
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Australia is risking its credibility in the region if it pursues its plan to buy 24 Super Hornet aircraft, writes Carlo Kopp.

LAST week's disclosure of negotiations to procure 24 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets as interim replacements for Australia's existing F-111 fleet is the latest instalment in the sorry saga of the RAAF's decline as a credible regional air force.

Until last week, senior Defence figures repeatedly denied that Super Hornets were being sought as gap fillers to overcome continuing difficulties with the long running F/A-18A Hornet Upgrade Program, increasing delays with the Joint Strike Fighter, and Defence's campaign for premature retirement of the F-111 fleet.

The Super Hornet is the US Navy's follow-on fighter to the "Classic Hornet", currently flown by four RAAF squadrons. While slightly larger than Australia's Hornets, the Super Hornet's agility, supersonic speed and acceleration performance, critical in air combat, are no better than the earlier model, due to a Congressional mandate during development. With unique engines, radar, airframe and electronic warfare systems, the Super Hornet shares little real commonality with its predecessor, driving up support costs. All it offers is a better radar, improved avionics and 36 per cent more internal fuel, at a price tag estimated at $2.5 billion.


Story

2 page story on possible purchase..



posted on Feb, 1 2007 @ 08:35 PM
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Australia Mulls Lease of 24 F-18Es Pending JSF Deliveries

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From buying to leasing sounds like the accountants have cught up
with the politians.



posted on Feb, 1 2007 @ 09:32 PM
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It's interesting, I've heard from different sources different things about buying or leasing. I can't find a definitive answer. Maybe they haven't decided the best path to go down? I'd imagine that the leasing option is better for a short term (< 5 years) plan, while purchasing would suit a longer term plan (>5 years, future needs also). If the JSF does indeed enter RAAF service 2014/2015, I'd say leasing is the more likely scenario.



posted on Feb, 2 2007 @ 05:08 AM
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Will Australia really start getting Lightnings in 2014? As far as I know the date for UK Lightnings is 2014 *at the earliest* and even then the aircraft will not have full weapons C/A release until 2022, which is the reason the RAF is getting so jumpy about its offensive capabilities over the next decade or so.



posted on Feb, 2 2007 @ 11:23 AM
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Does anyone know why the delay between when the US receives it's first Lightnings and when everyone else gets them? I know right now the US is scheduled to reach IOC with all types by 2013.



posted on Feb, 2 2007 @ 04:23 PM
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The recent press release from our minister of defence was quite categoric in saying RAAF Lightnings would IOC in 2014/2015. I still think this is optomistic, but hey, they know a lot more than I do! And then again, as I said in the first post in this thread, our DCAF categorically ruled out an interim fighter in October last year, so maybe we haven't got a clue, which is a most likely scenario in my opinion


Westy, I think the delay is due to the UK and Aus getting a later block than the ones entering US service. I'm not entirely sure, but I that seems the most likely explanation to me.



posted on Feb, 6 2007 @ 10:14 PM
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It looks like Australia is planning a purchase, rather than a lease, of 24 F/A-18E/Fs. The US DOD has gone to Congress to request permission for the sale. Details at the following link.

Super Hornet details



posted on Feb, 7 2007 @ 02:24 AM
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Nice, it looks like they are also planning to purchase some EW and ECCM equipment as part of the deal, not an EA-18G (ideally) but some capability none the less. This will help with any future "fighter gap" but also give Australia more capability and assets to use in combination with the F-35's. If it does not affect the purchase of the F-35's then I think it's a good move.

Say, would this be the first export buy of Super Hornets?



posted on Feb, 7 2007 @ 06:40 AM
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Originally posted by Jezza
Australia should tag onto the USAF order for 1 billion dollars to buy 23 more F-22s.
It would be nice to have 30 to 40 RAPTORS


Sorry Jezza,

Currently, the F-22 is still coverd by Senior Sky, a Special Access Program. One of the access stipulations currently in place is NOFOR, which means forigners, including close allies are currently restircted to public access (look but Don't touch). Until this access retriction is lifted, they can't sell it to other countries for security reasons!

For now only the US military can buy F-22's!

Tim

[edit on 2/7/2007 by Ghost01]



posted on Feb, 7 2007 @ 02:29 PM
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Even if the military wanted to sell the F-22 Raptor they would have to convince Congress to lift the congressional ban on Raptor foreign sales. That law has been in place ever since it went into production.



posted on Feb, 7 2007 @ 03:18 PM
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Total waste of money.


As ch points out, far safer getting Meteor and sticking with the old Hornets, maybe upgrade the avionics some, but not shell out billions on a pig of an airframe.


Besides, who on earth are the Ozzies gonna fight*?



*By fight, I mean more than fly in a straight line and drop a couple of PGMs.



posted on Feb, 7 2007 @ 03:27 PM
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Personally I agree. I don't see the need for the Super Hornet purchase. I'd rather spend the money on upgrading further our current Hornet self-protection kit, a new longer range BVR weapon, and maybe a stand-off jammer of some kind. Especially as the Government is so adamant that the F-35 will IOC in time.

Ghost, Westy, can you guys have a chat to a couple of idiots we have over here who keep on slamming our Government for not purchasing the F-22. Congressional approval and SAPs seem to be beyond their comprehension...



posted on Feb, 7 2007 @ 03:31 PM
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Originally posted by kilcoo316
As ch points out, far safer getting Meteor and sticking with the old Hornets, maybe upgrade the avionics some, but not shell out billions on a pig of an airframe.


That does not make sense, why waste money upgrading old Hornets when they will never reach the capabilities offered by a new E/F airframe with new engines, sensors, avionics and weapons? Either get rid of Hornets all together or go for the better E/F version.



posted on Feb, 7 2007 @ 03:36 PM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
That does not make sense, why waste money upgrading old Hornets when they will never reach the capabilities offered by a new E/F airframe with new engines, sensors, avionics and weapons? Either get rid of Hornets all together or go for the better E/F version.


You mean why save billions upgrading the legacy Hornet to effectively the capabilities of the Subpar Hornet?


A meteor and upgraded (to) AESA radar equipped F/A-18C with supporting AWACs (which, lets face it, will always be present) will be better than an E/F any day of the week.


Save that money there, and use it elsewhere more effectively.



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