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Australian Super Hornet purchase under a Parlimentary inquiry cloud.

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posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 11:23 AM
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The F-15E although good is only the number #2 aircraft in the class lead by the Tornado - and in fact i would place the SU-34 ahead as well in capabilty

don`t forget the F-15 was designed from the outset as a fighter and the A2G role was added later in its life - ask any pilot what its like to ride low n fast in a stike eagle and they will all tell you the same answer - rougher than a bouncing buckeroo!

thats the problem with the lifting body design , great for A2A and agility not so great down where the air is thick (for pilot comfort) the design does bounce around alot low down.

did you know the USAF where overuled when they aked to buy into the panavia tornado - (thats how good it truely is) and the strike eagle was rushed out for them?




posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 11:34 AM
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Crew comfort aside, the F-15E (and it's many variants) offers more un-refueled combat and ferry range than the Tornado or the Fullback. Better avionics and sensors than either, more armament capacity, and perhaps a more diverse and capable weapons suite. I don't see why it should not be considered the premier strike platform on the market, even if it was originally designed as an air superiority fighter.



posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 11:45 AM
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It can be argued to were blue in the face about what is `better` for avionics and sensor fit - i would rather more look at `different approach` than a blanket `made is america is better` -


more armamant capacity?


the fullback hasn`t been seen with max weapon loadout and an eagle unless refuelled alot by a tanker has no legs with stores hanging off everywhere - and i disagree anyway - the tornado has wet points on its whole wing hardpoints and underneath as well is wet and can carry ALARM and ASRAAM along with tanks outboard if needed and triple stores stations along the rest of the hardpoints/

diverse and capable weapons suite? erm the GR4 is glass for the WO station - please see above - different approach and not `made in america` does not = worse ; ask the indians


you disregard crew comfort too quickly which i find very disappointing - when you have to spend hours in the same seat , with hardly any movement - being shaken about is something you want to keep to a minimum - the eagle doesn`t do that.

[edit on 8/8/07 by Harlequin]



posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 12:42 PM
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Well, Westy,

In line with thebozeian's comments and our range / payload requirements, it would appear that there is no adequate replacement for the F-111 in our specific role, so the best option would have been to continue to upgrade the Pig and wait for something else to come along.

It is apparent that the F-35 won't do the specific job either (without a carrier to base them on) which just adds weight to the question about why we are in the program in the first place.

The Winged Wombat



posted on Aug, 9 2007 @ 04:25 AM
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Ok so the vital stats in comparision are pretty similar to the Su-30 in terms of combat radius ~1000nm.

What needs to be seen is the wingloading.
AESA and all that jazz gives comparable results to the fatass Ruskie radars.



posted on Aug, 9 2007 @ 08:42 AM
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Originally posted by Daedalus3
What needs to be seen is the wingloading.


That would depend on the likely load an F-15E(+) would be configured with in RAAF service. However given that the Strike Eagle is a much heavier aircraft with greater load capacity and slightly lower wing area the wing loading is likely to be higher. I don't see why this is such a major concern though...


Originally posted by Daedalus3
AESA and all that jazz gives comparable results to the fatass Ruskie radars.


Maybe in total power output and range but in terms of fidelity, simultaneous multi function, tracking ability, electronic attack, low probability of intercept etc... it is still inferior.



posted on Aug, 9 2007 @ 09:09 AM
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again you have the assumption that `made in america` = better , it does not . A different approach gives comparable reults using different methodology.

again ask the indians - they should know.



posted on Aug, 9 2007 @ 09:41 AM
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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, has such a capability. The South Koreans operate the F-15K, 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 with plans to integrate 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.



it would appear that there is no adequate replacement for the F-111 in our specific role, so the best option would have been to continue to upgrade the Pig and wait for something else to come along.... It is apparent that the F-35 won't do the specific job either.... which just adds weight to the question about why we are in the program in the first place.


So with the addition of an AESA, dont these above points add further weight to the questions surrounding why the Super Hornet was chosen over the F-15E (or variant) for the interim RAAF F-111 replacement?

As a side note apparently former respected defence minister and now retired leader of the labour opposition (think a bit left of the US Democrats Westy) Kim Beazley, recently gave a speech and commented on the FA-18F interim fighter decision. He commented that he could not recall in his entire career a worse decision and terrible choice for defence acquisition.

LEE.




[edit on 9-8-2007 by thebozeian]



posted on Aug, 9 2007 @ 01:04 PM
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Originally posted by Harlequin
again you have the assumption that `made in america` = better , it does not.


What are you talking about? This has nothing to do with preference. It is a known fact that M-Scan and even PESA cannot perform some of the functions an AESA radar can, nor do they offer better capability in certain areas. This is a matter of physics not one of ingenuity.



posted on Aug, 9 2007 @ 02:57 PM
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you do not know the full capabilities of the NO11M bars can do - no one except the countries that have bought it does - the IAF certainly didn`t use it full range against the brits recently - so you are again assuming that just because its PESA therefore its inferior to AESA especially those on USAF and USN aircraft.



posted on Aug, 10 2007 @ 07:10 AM
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Originally posted by Harlequin
you do not know the full capabilities of the NO11M bars can do...


I never claimed to know specific performance specs. You are still not understanding what I'm saying. The inherent design features of M-Scan and PESA make it virtually impossible for it to perform some of the same functions as AESA and for it to offer some of the same capabilities. Once again, matter of physics, not ingenuity or preference.




Originally posted by Harlequin
so you are again assuming that just because its PESA therefore its inferior to AESA especially those on USAF and USN aircraft.


Yes I am, because in most areas PESA and M-Scan are inferior to AESA.



posted on Aug, 18 2007 @ 11:35 AM
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Take a look at this little article that turned up in "The Australian" a couple of days ago. Seems even Boeing is getting in on the act of trying to justify the Australian governments purchase of the Super Hornet. The first paragraph really cracks me up, how could a decision that had no tender process, alternative comparisons, or even prior knowledge of the chief of the airforce and defence force as to a decision being made be described as "open and transparent". Maybe when the parlimentary enquiry goes ahead we may see another Denise Druyden scandal come out?

However there were a number of other little eye openers in the statement including these:

Delays in the JSF program underscored the need for acquiring a modern multi-role platform, Defence Minister Dr Brendan Nelson said.
So one minute he tells us there are no delays in the F-35, and the next he says there are, like we were always told that. Love to know what they are smoking in Canberra.


The decision to buy the Super Hornet has led to renewed interest in the F/A-18F Block 2 aircraft by Canada, Switzerland and even the US Air Force, which would have preferred Australia to choose the F-15E Strike Eagle, Mr Gower said
So the US Air Force is looking at the Super Hornet as well if I read this correctly. Is this another hint at the F-35 programs true state?


Australian industries could make huge gains as a result of the Super Hornet sale, including involvement in lucrative support for USN Super Hornets, he said.
Boeing Australia is second only in size to Boeing US and employs more than 4000 people.
Now the bit about Boeing Australia's size surprised me. However it is precisely that which underlines the real reason for the Super Hornet decision, influence and jobs in an election year.

LEE.



posted on Aug, 19 2007 @ 12:09 AM
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Originally posted by thebozeian
So the US Air Force is looking at the Super Hornet as well if I read this correctly. Is this another hint at the F-35 programs true state?


Whomever wrote that article needs to cites sources because the US Air Force would never buy the Rhino for a number of reasons, least of which being that the F-35A will be delayed, which it will not. The only Navy aircraft which the USAF might want to buy is the EA-18G, that is because it is currently the only future dedicated stand off jammer for the entire US military. And that decision (should it be made) has nothing to do with the F-35, but more to do with politics and in service requirements.


Originally posted by thebozeian
However it is precisely that which underlines the real reason for the Super Hornet decision, influence and jobs in an election year.


Maybe, but perhaps it could have something to do with the unprecedented level of cooperation and consultation the RAAF received form the US and Boeing. As the article sates they were briefed by both Boeing and the USN on the full capabilities of the Super Hornet and offered an almost identical copy with full technology transfer. Not to mention not covering any R/D cost and buying it at USN prices.

On a different note, I'm glad to see my F-15E idea received some thought and consideration.


[edit on 19-8-2007 by WestPoint23]



posted on Aug, 19 2007 @ 12:40 AM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23

Maybe, but perhaps it could have something to do with the unprecedented level of cooperation and consultation the RAAF received form the US and Boeing. As the article sates they were briefed by both Boeing and the USN on the full capabilities of the Super Hornet and offered an almost identical copy with full technology transfer. Not to mention not covering any R/D cost and buying it at USN prices.


Westy,

I'm afraid you've missed the main point of the discussion...

The RAAF Chief of Staff said of the Rhino......"We have no requirement for it and we don't want it!" And this is not because they want something different!

How plain can he possibly make it - Boeing (or the US Government) did NOT convince the RAAF that they wanted or needed the Super Hornet.

There has been no official requirement, no evaluation or comparison, no tender procedure, and, it appears - absolutely no consultation with the RAAF.

This fact and the fact that the Minister went and bought it anyway, is the very essence of the discussion and the reason there are calls for an inquiry.

Either, the Minister is doing stuff outside his normal duties and procedures (for reasons that are unclear, and demand some explanation), or the US has blackmailed the Australian Government into buying stuff that the RAAF categorically states it DOES NOT WANT!

The only other possible explanation is that the F-35 is significantly delayed and the Australian Government has agreed to stone-wall any admission of the fact, even to the RAAF. It is looking more and more like - the F-35 is not delayed - because we say it isn't delayed, but this could well be evidence to the contrary.

It really doesn't matter if the SH is good, bad or indifferent in this case. Let me state it one more time. The RAAF has said publicly - We don't need it and we don't want it!!!!

Put it this way - if what you say about the USAF and SH is correct (and I don't question that in any way), would you think there was something fishy going on if your Secretary of Defense suddenly ordered a whole bunch of them for the USAF? Same situation exactly!

The Winged Wombat


[edit on 19/8/07 by The Winged Wombat]



posted on Aug, 19 2007 @ 08:37 AM
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Westy, to give you a little further perspective I have included this newspaper story to highlight how the DoD/RAAF leadership were bypassed and only informed about the ministers decision at a National Security Cabinet Committee meeting. You will note a reference to a strong sales pitch from Boeing. To expand on this further and to highlight that nepotism is alive and well outside of Washington I should explain the link.

The recently retired head of Boeing Australia was a man by the name of Andrew Peacock. Peacock had been a very well known long time politician and stalwart of the Australian Liberal Party (roughly akin to the Republicans but a little more to the centre of the political spectrum). He had been leader of the party in opposition during the Labour Hawke/Keating years. He was deposed as party leader and after several different leaders the job went to his old party colleague the present Prime Minister John Howard. After leaving politics he was offered the post of Australian ambassador to the US in Washington where he became a member of the DC international political social scene. Upon his retirement from this post he was offered various company directorships and ultimately settled upon the top job at Boeing Australia. His close and intimate contact with the Liberal party allowed him to open doors, and his connections to Washington were a bonus. The Super Hornet deal was his parting gift to the company. In addition he married an American who is also a member of the DC society circuit and a former US ambassador herself. Now given all that do you really think that the deal could still be considered "clean"?

Yes I agree that the Strike Eagle/Super Eagle option should have been considered, but as a partial replacement for the early model Hornet's that are cracking up. Not for the F-111's that apparently may suffer some nebulous unspecified failure in the future.

LEE.



posted on Aug, 19 2007 @ 10:28 AM
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Originally posted by The Winged Wombat
It really doesn't matter if the SH is good, bad or indifferent in this case. Let me state it one more time. The RAAF has said publicly - We don't need it and we don't want it!!!!

Put it this way - if what you say about the USAF and SH is correct (and I don't question that in any way), would you think there was something fishy going on if your Secretary of Defense suddenly ordered a whole bunch of them for the USAF? Same situation exactly!


Thanks for writing this out, I finally got it! Great example using the USAF, I was always caught up in the 'Super Hornet is not good enough' debate... I still think it would be a nice compliment however at the cost of other systems or programs, especially when the RAAF states that it does not need it, it is not necessary.


Originally posted by thebozeian
Now given all that do you really think that the deal could still be considered "clean"?


You and I both know full well that military contracts are rarely, if ever, "clean", especially in the international scene. On a slightly different note, has anyone considered that Australia may have wanted to have one naval capable fighter (i.e. ship launched) squadron just in case in the near future it receives some sort of carrier capability. I admit this is very unlikely and far off but interesting nonetheless...



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 01:59 AM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
[On a slightly different note, has anyone considered that Australia may have wanted to have one naval capable fighter (i.e. ship launched) squadron just in case in the near future it receives some sort of carrier capability. I admit this is very unlikely and far off but interesting nonetheless...


Westy,

While I'm sure there are individuals within the military establishment who harbour such aspirations, there are at least two major reasons that it won't happen, even in the mid term future.

Firstly economics. The GNP figure for the USA (2000) was $10,533 billion and the US population was about 301 million, giving a GNP per capita of $38. The equivalent figures for Australia were $444 billion, population about 20 million, giving GNP per capita of $24.

The US has, in service, 12 aircraft carriers. This is one carrier per $877.75 billion of GNP, or one carrier per 25 million people. Translating these figures to Australia, we could afford 0.8 of a carrier on the basis of population (even ignoring the productivity per capita difference) or 0.5 of a carrier based on GNP.

This also does not include the economies of scale associated with the multiple carriers employed by the US. For instance, for each embarked aircraft type the US maintains two conversion and replenishment squadrons ashore (one each for Pacific and Atlantic fleets - correct me if I'm wrong here), so that's a ratio of 6:1 operational to training, while for Australia to deploy a single carrier, we would have an operational/training ratio of 1:1 thus making it more expensive for us to operate a carrier than it is for the US.

Secondly there are geopolitical ramifications. Prior to WWII Australia was seen (probably quite rightly) by Asian countries as merely the local representative of British Imperial power (a big British Gunboat in the South Pacific, if you like). Post WWII and particularly post Vietnam this view has changed very little other than to substitute the USA for Britain.

Undeniably Australia's financial future lies within Asia, and we have been actively trying for decades to convince our neighbours that we are indeed part of Asia.

Now, also since WWII, with the advent of effective long range strike aircraft, the role of the aircraft carrier has moved from one of mainly naval warfare and defense of sea lanes to that of power projection - an entirely aggressive role.

Given Australia's desire to be seen as part of Asia, if we were to obtain an aircraft carrier, the obvious question that would be asked by our neighbours would be quite justifiably - 'who does Australia wish to project power against?'

The scenario is much the same as if Mexico suddenly decided to buy a carrier - I can just imagine the US reaction (not to mention the Central American states)! Like, who are they going to employ this carrier against????

I must admit that some years ago I did hear rumours that we would be buying the F-35 and that we would be getting one (or possibly two - presumably the second as a training vessel) carriers. The F-35 was correct, but the world has changed very significantly since then with the collapse of the USSR as a naval power and all the ramifications of 9/11. Simply, the scenario no longer exists which would justify Australian expenditure (at much pain to the taxpayer) on an aircraft carrier.

With regards to military contracts - if it looks like fish, swims like fish, smells like fish and tastes like fish - well - it's probably fish!

The Winged Wombat


[edit on 20/8/07 by The Winged Wombat]



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 07:48 AM
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I agree with the summation that there are some in the ADF who would like to see a return of the RAN's carrier force, and that the FA-18F could be seen as a long term strategy for softening up Canberra towards this aim. I recall about 5 or six years back seeing a computer generated image in The Navy magazine of a light/medium carrier design about to launch a RAAF FA-18A. The conclusion of the ADF study this came from was that it was technically achievable and affordable. In the end the studies were the genesis of what has now become the RAN's two new Navantia designed, 27,000t Adelaide class LPD's.

As the original Spanish BPE version now under construction is fitted with a strengthened flight deck and ski jump it would be simple to operate F-35B's as a form of top cover for any amphibious operations or the regular stabilizing operations in the Asia-Pacific region we seem to be constantly engaged in these days. It is very probable that this was a key reason for the Navantia BPE design winning over the smaller French Mistral class offered. I have heard conflicting reports as to whether the RAN's will be fitted with the ski jump or not, but it would probably cost more to go through the design modification of deleting it, even though the design allows for this. In any case Super Hornets could never be operated from these vessels as while they may in theory have just enough flightdeck length for launch and recovery, they lack a catapult system as well as the machinery, support services and below deck space for maintenance facilities to make this possible.

Maybe somewhere in the bowels of ADF headquarters a longer term plan is being hatched to ask for carrier capabillity ten or fifteen years from now. I'm sure that it would be built around the premise of giving sustained cover to ground troops in UN operations and regional intervention scenarios, as well as giving some measure of fleet protection. And given that carrier construction and operation in the Asia-Pacific region is going to increase significantly in the coming decade, who is to say this wont be more acceptable to more of our neighbours? Perhaps the Super Hornet deal could be a first step towards "marinising" the RAAF fighter force for at sea operations much as the army Blackhawk fleet now deploys on RAN ships?

Wombat, just a note on the carrier cost to GNP figures you mentioned. Those are of course based upon a new build Nimitz class I assume which would be way above the RAN's league and need. A smaller conventionally powered vessel of 25-50,000t would be far cheaper and have a fraction of the manpower and running costs of a Nimitz.

I should also correct a mistake I made in one of the above posts. I used the name Denise Druyden when commenting on the RAAF Super Hornet deal being investigated (Re: the now infamous Boeing tanker deal scandal). The name I should have used was Darlene Druyun, the former airforce acquisitions officer who was jailed for her part in the fiasco. In a twist of irony the Boeing representative who is mentioned in the article I posted above, and is defending the transparency of the RAAF deal is none other than Bob Gower who was Boeing’s vice president for tankers during the aforementioned tanker scandal. Its a small world.


LEE.

[edit on 20-8-2007 by thebozeian]



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 07:50 AM
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en.wikipedia.org...


HMAS Melbourne was the last carrier - scrapped in 1985 , after ironically , the purchase of HMS Invincible fell through thanks to the falklands war (and also a change of government in 1983).

the only other ship from the same class still in service is the INS Viraat.



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 12:19 PM
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Yes, Lee, I was comparing full-on fleet carriers. (ie:- carriers capable of operating aircraft of the SH category) but really there is little else on the horizon that would be capable of operating this class of aircraft. I recall that one of the factors leading to the decommissioning of HMAS Melbourne was the fact that it was only marginally capable of operating the aircraft that it had embarked at the time (A-4s) because of its size (or lack thereof).

There is always the possibility, as you describe, of the acquisition of a smaller type to support intervention and peace-keeping forces. Whether we can politically get away with embarking strike aircraft on such a vessel is a more difficult question, due to the aggressive implications. However in a world of swing role aircraft, we could probably justify it to our neighbours as protection for the vessel itself.

However, in consideration of the SH, I would suggest that it would not be in the frame because of the factors that you mention in relation to these types of ships. Given the lead time required on such a project, I agree that the STOVL version of the F-35 would be in the minds of those who have the power to influence such decisions. Indeed that was the crux of the rumours that I heard as long as 8 years ago.

Alas, given the likelihood of a change of government (notwithstanding Kevin Rudd's indiscretions - or as SBS captioned their news item tonight - Kevin Rude )
I see the possibility of it happening as very remote.

The Winged Wombat


[edit on 20/8/07 by The Winged Wombat]



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