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Australian Super Hornet purchase under a Parlimentary inquiry cloud.

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posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 08:11 AM
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It seems someone finally worked out that there is something fishy surrounding the Australian defence minister's personal decision to purchase 24 Super Hornets, as interim replacements for the F-111's, following there early retirement in 2010. The probe will be conducted by the Commonwealth Auditor General, and centres on the governance issues surrounding the project. The probe however won't be conducted until the 2008/09 year which means an almost one year delay. This is probably due to pressure from the government in an election year.

Seems he (the minister) acted mainly on the sales pitch argument from Boeing and the USN, and there was no adherence to the goverments own defence procurement protocols. All this apparently against the advice of his own airforce and defence chiefs. Who's been a naughty boy then? And all this with a federal election in the next few months. Seems I could get my christmas wish and see this joke of a purchase canned. See this story for more details.

LEE.




posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 08:18 AM
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Already drawing conclusions without the investigation having begun? In terms of the Super Hornet, I think it would be a good complimentary package to the F-35 force and more than capable of holding it's own in the region. However I also don't think it's absolutely necessary as nothing is likely to happen until the F-35 reaches Australian IOC.



[edit on 7-8-2007 by WestPoint23]



posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 08:36 AM
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Australia have absolutely no need for the "super" hornet. They never had and never will.


Its debatable whether the USN or anyone else has any need for such a flawed airframe (and no, don't anyone reply citing AESA and avionics etc - those could have been designed into any aircraft).



posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 08:38 AM
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you don`t understand do you westy? the F-18 is not wanted or needed by the RAN or RAAF as it brings nothing that they actually want in capability and they would be replaced (in the main) by F-35`s anyway , and the main point is that Dr Nelson didn`t follow procedure and just went ahead and ordered them; i can see there being a corruption probe next that Dr Nelson has been paid off by boeing tbh.

give them a carrier rather than super bugs, as a carrier brings power projection.



posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 08:41 AM
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Our country, topic creator, thinks its something its not, I hate how our leaders think we are more significant on the world map...I would laugh at us if I didnt have to live this country.

Albeit, it does some things right, but its heading down a terrible path
And im not just talking about buying hornets obviously. Vote ALP!


[edit on 7-8-2007 by 3_Libras]



posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 09:34 AM
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Westy its not a matter of drawing conclusions early. The only reason this probe has been forced is because of the huge smell that has been surrounding this deal locally. Even some of the governments own people have been saying both on and off the record that it is a dodgy deal and a questionable and large mistake. One senior cabinet minister is alledged to have said off the record that it was "a monumental f##k up". The head of the airforce said just a few weeks before the decision was announced that a replacement was unnecessary and there were no plans. It is well known that the RAAF advised against the decision. Only a blind man without a map in braille WOULDN'T draw these conclusions. It is clearly not in the league of the F-111 in terms of strike distance, speed and payload, so why bother? And as you correctly point out, there is unlikely to be anything bad happen in the few years gap between the retirement of the Pig (originally 2012) and the next generation fighter(whatever that ends up being). Unless of course Dr Nelson knows or thinks something about the F-35 program we don't know, and it isn't good news.



Our country, topic creator, thinks its something its not, I hate how our leaders think we are more significant on the world map...
And what's that? the fact that it is 7.5 million square kms in area, has the longest coastline in the world, either posesses or is responsible under international treaty for 10% of the earths surface, has around a 1 Trillion dollar a year economy. Has some of the largest natural resource reserves in the world? How does that NOT make us significant, and how does this relate to a minister making dumb decisions?


Albeit, it does some things right, but its heading down a terrible path
And im not just talking about buying hornets obviously
And ummm, what OBVIOUSLY are you talking about? please elaborate.


Vote ALP!
Dude seriously, that's NOT cool.
This is an aircraft forum, not a political billboard. If you explained what you meant by this it might lend some weight and understanding to what you are trying to say. Remember most of the people you are talking to here are not even in the country(Australia) I seriously cannot see Westy and kilcoo feeling the urge to vote labour later this year.

LEE.



posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 09:38 AM
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Like I said, Vote ALP, and if you dont, who cares, ALP has already won.



Who are we protecting ourselves against? Torres Strait? Theres a reason we're in the same mess as the US and UK, and dont for a second tell me that there was a need. Id rather there not be train bombing threats going around town while I take the busiest one all day. So please..

[edit on 7-8-2007 by 3_Libras]



posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 09:53 AM
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I agree totally when i heard the deal i thought great, BUT what
happened to the evaluation of types?????
Rafale,Typhoon,F-15K,Gripen etc.

I would rather see the F-111s last until 2020.
If found guilty could they cancel the deal then???



posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 10:51 AM
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Originally posted by kilcoo316
Its debatable whether the USN or anyone else has any need for such a flawed airframe...


That depends on what you want the airframe to do and how you intend to use it, but I agree it could be better in that department.


Originally posted by Harlequin
you don`t understand do you westy?


Did you read my post? I clearly posted "I think it would be a good complimentary package to the F-35 force... However I also don't think it's absolutely necessary..." I think that having a squadron of Super Hornets can only be beneficial yet at the same time no they are not really needed, as opposes to wanted. I think you will find that this is in line with the views of the top brass who were critical of the deal.

Also, I'm not too familiar with how Australia defense department (or it's equivalent) works so I may be wrong however I suspect military advice and consent is considered but ultimately not necessary for contract purposes. Here in the states civilian leadership of the DoD, specifically the Sec Def, has all final budget authority and discretion pending of course congressional and presidential approval. Disagreement between the military and the civilian leadership within the defense sector is common and still present, but in the end it's not illegal to go against the wishes of the military brass, in fact it's quite common to do so. Mac the Kinfe and Don Rum are just two notable examples...


Originally posted by thebozeian
I seriously cannot see Westy and kilcoo feeling the urge to vote labour later this year.


Is that kind of like Republican? If not then no, even if I could.



posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 09:44 PM
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Westy,

Just for the record, Australia has two main political parties. The ALP (Australian Labor Party) is primarily backed by the Trade Unions (Labor Unions to you) and the Academic elite who's main platform is social reform. Now I don't expect you to understand how that could be, because of America's belief that Trade Unions are something akin to the Mafia, but the rest of the world believes that employment is a matter for National Governments rather than Private enterprise (ie:- governing for the workers as well as for employers). Just to confuse you, the Conservative side of Australian politics is the Liberal Party, so the term Liberal means something quite different here to what it means in the US. So here, the Liberals are to the right of politics! (So, actually, when we discuss politics with Americans, we tend to use different terms so we don't confuse you - see, we understand your political system but Americans seldom understand anyone's but your own - man, we often even spell things your way on these boards so that you don't get confused!
)

However, given the ALP's attitude, if they gain power (more than likely), I would not be surprised to see both the Super Hornet and F-35 contracts canceled (the money probably spent on supporting single income families and drug rehab centres)! The probability of an ALP win can ultimately be placed at the feet of all the WMD crap surrounding the invasion of Iraq and Australia's commitment to 'the coalition of the willing' and all the lies that have surfaced in that regard.

Your comments regarding our purchase of the Super Hornet show your lack of understanding of our position. Given ....

a. We are a country of 20 million people.
b. Our land mass, coastline and area of international responsibility,
c. Our economy

.....we don't have the same requirements as the US. Obviously you do not understand that for every squadron of Super Hornets that we retain, we would have to forgo a squadron of F-35s! Basically, if we were to retain a squadron of Super Hornets it would put the whole F-35 purchase in doubt and the RAAF would rather the F-35 than the SH, not to mention the international political fallout of such a decision. It is not even a criticism of the SH - in some ways it is like the old F-15 / F-16 fighter mafia debate - buying one puts the other one in doubt.

Equally obviously the RAAF does not want the expense of maintaining spares and infrastructure for both types - therefore we CANNOT have Super Hornets and F-35 at the same time.

The RAAF does not want the Super Hornet because (from what it has been told officially and unofficially) the F-111 can be maintained in service until the introduction of the F-35. The inference is that either that the F-35 is further delayed (which all and sundry explicitly deny) or the minister has gone off by himself (for whatever reason) and bought something that everyone else feels is not required (at great expense to the RAAF budget).

Certainly the Government is not bound by the RAAF's choice from available aircraft to meet a particular requirement (after all the RAAF's job in this regard to evaluate and select the 'best' on offer - the Government must, in turn, consider political and budgetary factors), but in this case there is NO OFFICIAL REQUIREMENT to be evaluated or filled.

Supposing that the RAAF and the public have been kept in the dark, and the F-35 is significantly delayed, then it is possibly a matter of the minister lying to the government, and therefore justifies some inquiry. In a similar situation which occurred when the F-111 was significantly delayed, we leased F-4s from the US as a stop-gap. Although they would have made a nice addition to our inventory once the F-111 was delivered, simple economics dictated that we returned them to the US when the F-111 arrived (we could probably have bought them for $1 each at the time) - we simply could not afford to field both types!

As has been discussed elsewhere it is probable that a Super Hornet lease as a stop-gap was not an option that was available. Had such an option been available and taken up, there would be far less controversy here - but it would still have meant a public admission of an F-35 delay, which if it is so, could have consequences regarding other nation's participation in the program. Obviously the RAAF knows of no such delay, otherwise the brass would not have made the comments that it has and would simply have said that the F-111 couldn't be maintained for 'this or that' reason (valid or otherwise).

The Winged Wombat


[edit on 7/8/07 by The Winged Wombat]



posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 02:31 AM
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^^


top banana that man - great post and great explanation - the uk does indeed do things in a similar way to AUS but we don`t have `rogue` politicians ignoring the military.


now , want to buy a carrier cheap



posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 04:21 AM
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A cat amongst the mice...
Why not get the Su-30?
I'm sure he Russians wouldn't mind selling you a few.
I know it would create numerous logistical/infrastructural issues but hey..
come to think of it the Su-30 is well suited to the F-111 role..



posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 04:58 AM
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Ah, but as I said.... it's the government's job to do the political stuff.

And, as I mentioned, if you can't afford to design and build what you need then you have to buddy up with someone who can either sell it to you, or do the job you want done. In our case, we've buddied up with the US, now haven't we!

Enough said?

The Winged Wombat



posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 05:41 AM
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Originally posted by Daedalus3
I know it would create numerous logistical/infrastructural issues but hey..
come to think of it the Su-30 is well suited to the F-111 role..


If Australia was really interested in modern F-111 "replacement" they would purchase updated versions of the F-15E (perhaps even help with the F-15E+ program). Better payload and range figures than any Flanker variant, including the Su-34. But that's not what the RAAF seems to have in mind.



posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 06:17 AM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
If Australia was really interested in modern F-111 "replacement" they would purchase updated versions of the F-15E (perhaps even help with the F-15E+ program). Better payload and range figures than any Flanker variant, including the Su-34. But that's not what the RAAF seems to have in mind.


Really?
Can't seem to get specs on the F-15E+ though.
Any info on that?
Range, wing loading etc..



posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 06:47 AM
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Westy,

Remember that we bought the F-111 for reasons other than you either designed it or employed it and while it might be obsolete from your perspective, it does the jobs we want done quite nicely. I guess you could say that we lucked out on the F-111, because it was never quite what you wanted it to be, but it was exactly what we were looking for.

We use it partly as a long range maritime strike aircraft, and I'm not aware of any such design capability or compatibility for F-15E. I guess that's why others are suggesting the Su-30. Just as an inquiry, what is the combat range of the F-15E unrefuelled with a decent weapon load of harpoon sized weapons? (remember we don't have fleets of tankers either) and how does that compare, not with the Su-30, but with the F-111.

Volumes could be written about why we are into the F-35. The obvious is the pressure being put on US allies in the name of interoperability - another name for blackmail to buy it - 'Buy this or get nothing!' So under that pressure our available options have been limited. Easy to say that we should buy this or that, but the political realities don't add up to much of a choice, really.

But, of course, no matter how well the Su-30 might fit our requirements, or otherwise, politically it would be impossible anyway.

The Winged Wombat


[edit on 8/8/07 by The Winged Wombat]



posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 09:01 AM
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Originally posted by The Winged Wombat

But, of course, no matter how well the Su-30 might fit our requirements, or otherwise, politically it would be impossible anyway.

The Winged Wombat


[edit on 8/8/07 by The Winged Wombat]


Why is that?

I think the region of concern does not involve any 'active' Russian interests. So I doubt there would be any future 'conflict of interest' resulting in Russian sanctions on arms and supplies.

What's more, US allies like S Korea have executed large arms deals with Russia before.

Finally, it would be good for Australia to diversify its arms inputs;
Allows for much more political flexibility in the international arena.
Whats more.. you can plan for a independant industry in the future taking the best of both worlds.

Anyways, its a very big political undertaking along with a military one.

Su-30 v/s SuperBug in more indepth terms from ausairpower

Su-30 Combat FootPrint: ~1600km
Wing Loading: 556 kg/m² (113 lb/ft²)
T/W at max load: .77

Su-34 Combat FootPrint: ~1200km
Wing Loading: 629 kg/m² (129 lb/ft²)
T/W at max load : 0.68



posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 10:40 AM
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Actually Daedalus3, the RAAF was offered the Flanker family about 7-8 years back. The Russians offered the SU-30 and SU-34 as respectively an FA-18 and F-111 replacement. They were willing to westernise them with US engines and avionics and increased airframe life. The deal would have seen the RAAF given an example of each upgraded aircraft to evaluate. In addition it would also see local assemby, parts production to alay fears over spares availability and locally produced sub assemblies and assembly for any aircraft sold to other asia/pacific operators in the future. Obviously the Russians saw the possibility of a sale to a western air force like the RAAF as worth offering such a sweetened deal. The credibillity this would bring would see many more Russian aircraft sold. In the end it was for political purposes(read: US alliance) not considered. I still think a westernised Flanker would be a highly formidable aircraft the equal or better of anything bar the F-22.

As an aside, the problem I and many have with the whole rationale behind the F-111 retirement is that it is unneeded. Regardless of whether it is a straight leap to the F-35 or the interim solution of the FA-18F, its a bad idea.

First, neither of the candidate aircraft has a hope in hell of being able to do in the future, what the F-111 can do now. The range, speed and payload of the F-111 is in a class of its own.

Second, the excuse given for retireing the F-111 is utter crap. There are no airframe issues with the aircraft. Even Boeing who hold the maintenance contract, were saying this until they realised they could make more money out of convincing the defence minster to buy FA-18F's. Try talking to an F-111 maintainer, rather than listen to politicians, bureaucrats and Boeing/Lockheed salesmen. The aircraft is easily upgradeable to serve another twenty to thirty plus years at a fraction of the cost of a new build replacement. In addition it would gain vastly improved performance and would have superior capabillities to just about anything other than maybe the Raptor or the USAF bomber triad. Many of the avionics packages such as the radar for example could be transplanted from the F-22 and F-35 program. Now if you think this is wishfull thinking, think again. Private industry submissions, preliminary work by the USAF in the early to mid 90's and early investigations by the RAAF/DSTO concluded that such comprehensive upgrades were possible, worthwhile and cost affective. What happened next is a classic text book case of blind political/bureaucratic and industrial opportunism over common sense. It is an example of why most nations should have an annual bureaucracts culling day!

In the end while I may disagree in general with Wombat on the issue of the F-22 and whether the RAAF can afford a multi tiered force, (if we can do it now why wont we be able to it in the future with new aircraft that are supposed to be cheaper than legacy airframes?) it seems we concur on the unsuitabillity of the FA-18F to take over this role. And that the whole selection process was flawed. In a limited option world we need to persue the best option we can, particularly if the F-35 ends up only marginally cheaper than the Raptor and the FA-18F is no worthy successor to the F-111 in it's roles.

LEE.



posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 10:47 AM
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Personally i think the RAF`s Tornado F3 is far more suitable to teh role than the current F18`s actually are; long loiter over water endurance with a good A2A payload and secondary SEAD role (the A2A emitters are actually a very good system for ELR) but ho hum


anyway - buy a carrier - i know a cheap one



posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 10:54 AM
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Originally posted by Daedalus3
Can't seem to get specs on the F-15E+ though.
Any info on that?


The F-15E+ "Super Eagle" is just a proposed upgrade by Boeing to the current F-15E fleet. The upgrades would mainly feature the new (v)3 AESA radar, new ECM suite, increase in weapon stations to 15 and new conformal fuel tanks. No performance figures yet given that this is just a proposed design. What I was referring to however is that the current F-15E out ranges all current operational Su-27+ Flanker variants in both un-refueled combat and ferry range as well as in terms of maximum payload (in this category significantly).


Originally posted by The Winged Wombat
We use it partly as a long range maritime strike aircraft, and I'm not aware of any such design capability or compatibility for F-15E.


Well actually not only could such a capability be easily fitted onto the F-15 via software, it has already been done. The South Korean operated F-15K, which is one the most advanced F-15E version anywhere in the world, has such a capability. The South Koreans operate the F-15K in a combination of roles, much like the RAAF, deep strike, maritime strike and in limited air operations. Their F-15's have already been configured to carry several advanced munitions such as the SLAM-ER, Maverick with plans to integrate the AIM-9X, Harpoon Block II and several other weapons to the F-15E's already impressive list of munitions (notice the naval capable munitions) which far surpass that of the F-111 in terms of diversity, capability and ability to carry (a large number) in a single aircraft. Never mind the advances in terms of avionics and sensors which would make the F-15E that much more lethal.


Originally posted by The Winged Wombat
Just as an inquiry, what is the combat range of the F-15E unrefuelled with a decent weapon load of harpoon sized weapons?


Can't give you an answer that specific, the maximum quoted combat range of the F-15E Strike Eagle by both the manufacturer and it's operators is around 1,000 nm.


Originally posted by The Winged Wombat
(remember we don't have fleets of tankers either) and how does that compare, not with the Su-30, but with the F-111.


That is an unfair comparisons, no current aircraft in the heavy fighter class can match the un-refueled range performance of the F-111. Those figures can only be approached by large aircraft which we would consider gun ship's or medium bombers. As such, if the RAAF was looking for a F-111 replacement in today's market the best choice would be the F-15E Strike Eagle even though it can't match the un-refueled range performance of the F-111 it does offer other improvements.

Further Links
F-15K Slam Eagle

[edit on 8-8-2007 by WestPoint23]




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