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AUS set to cancel Super Hornet order

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posted on Jan, 7 2008 @ 05:11 AM
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story

THE Australian Government wants to include one of the world's most expensive fighter jets, the US-built F-22 Raptor, in its lineup of deadly weapons.

Russian-built Sukhoi and MiG fighters will also be on the table when Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon sits down with air force chiefs to review the nation's air combat capability.

Until now, US law has banned the export of the Raptor to any country, even close allies such as Australia, but Mr Fitzgibbon said he would take up the matter with the US.

"I intend to pursue American politicians for access to the Raptor," he said.

The Howard government all but signed up to the Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter.

But Labor has stepped back from buying $16 billion worth of the yet-to-be-built next-generation aircraft.

Mr Fitzgibbon has ordered a detailed review of all options for replacing the RAAF's ageing fleet of F-111s and F/A-18 Hornets.

When asked by the Herald Sun if the Russian-built war planes would be considered, he said all options would be included.

"The review should include a comparative analysis of everything on the market," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

"I'm not ruling out any option."

This is a bold statement or just fishing???????????????




posted on Jan, 7 2008 @ 05:39 AM
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reply to post by Willard856
 


Yes a logical point Willard about a FMS buy allowing the production line to remain open longer, and therefore buy the USAF more time to mount a case with a new government due this year. And I agree with you that until somebody actually asks the US properly we simply shouldnt say that the F-22 is off the menu for anyone (PLEASE!!! nobody start (mis)quoting the Obey ammendment or parroting Gordon England on this one. Remember the Obey ammendment must be recertified regularly, and England is a Rumsfeld desciple, and Rumsfeld equals pathological hate for the F-22).

Yeah at present it is difficult to justify the F-22 for the RAAF's needs, but I stress at present. Who knows what is going to transpire in the next ten years in the Asia/Pacific region. Can anyone say how many countries will have PAK-FA on order in 2018, or an even more evolved Flanker? And if the US only has two true 5th generation aircraft why should some countries not be sold the top end? Afterall the US has painted all of us including itself into the corner on this one.

As for the likelyhood of a Rudd government formally requesting the F-22 over the previous administration, I disagree. Labour made it patently obvious over the last two years and in particular with Fitzgibbon on the defence portfolio that they would request the Raptor if elected. You may be proven right in the long run, although we both probably hope not. At the very least one can hope they at least maintain the momentum and make a formal request to have it included in any true rehash of the AIR-6000 competition, which given the F-35's increasingly worrying predicament, seems more and more likely.

Oh, and beware the Cabernet de Cardboard, thats only meant for Australia Day long weekend camping trips.


LEE.



posted on Jan, 7 2008 @ 06:51 AM
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if AUS and JPN get to buy raptor i can honestly see it being cheaper than the F35 - ergo bye bye F35.



posted on Jan, 7 2008 @ 07:56 AM
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Cardboard? Man, you have a real low opinion of me. Bottle only in this case!

As for the Rudd comment, you misunderstood me. My point was a Howard government request for F-22 would likely be viewed more favourably than a Rudd government request. Sorry if I didn't write too clearly. Guess cheap wine ain't that good after all. And on that note, I'm off to the rack!



posted on Jan, 7 2008 @ 11:14 PM
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Originally posted by Harlequin
if AUS and JPN get to buy raptor i can honestly see it being cheaper than the F35 - ergo bye bye F35.


Will not happen, it might kill off all sales of the F-35A, but Raptor will NEVER be STOVL capable keeping the B model on the table and a Naval raptor would cost a ton to convert at this point (not that it wouldn't be a good idea).

If Aus and Japan manage to get F-22s I expect the RAF to start screaming about buying some as a first strike force.



posted on Jan, 9 2008 @ 06:37 AM
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Originally posted by Willard856
Cardboard? Man, you have a real low opinion of me. Bottle only in this case!
My dear fellow I have nothing but the highest opinion of you... Except when it comes to pilot/engineer rivalry and you go and break a plane in which case it is my singular duty to never let you forget it!

I migh also point out that the wine cask is a purely Australian invention to be proud of (hence it's universal nickname in this land of "a cask of goon") and it is every Aussies national duty to drink from one on at least one day of the year be it sneaked into a cricket test match, a stinking hot christmas, or Australia day. However I personally still prefer a bottle of 1998 Bin 389.



As for the Rudd comment, you misunderstood me. My point was a Howard government request for F-22 would likely be viewed more favourably than a Rudd government request. Sorry if I didn't write too clearly. Guess cheap wine ain't that good after all. And on that note, I'm off to the rack!
Seriously though yes sorry I did misunderstand your point about Howard/Rudd and a favourable view of a foreign F-22 sale in Washington. You may have a point, but who knows with a US federal election this year?...And no cheap wine ain't that good.

LEE.



posted on Jan, 9 2008 @ 02:15 PM
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Willard, bozeian,

I can see a number of points here that tend to lead more towards my scenario of an F-15 bargain package.

Firstly, I feel that the US Administration must view the Labor government with a certain amount of suspicion, given its previous history compared to the (almost automatic US alignment of the) Howard government. The fact that the Rudd Government is willing to consider Su and MiG is something that would have been unthinkable under Howard. Therefore I think the US may see the Rudd government as much more of a threat to the alliance, and therefore be willing to bend a little more on our requests.

Secondly, the matter of whether we actually need the F-22's stealth capabilities (or indeed just how capable a 'foreign sales F-22' might actually be). Also, while the F-22 can carry bombs, they tend to negate the stealth qualities of the design.

Thirdly, as evidenced by the promotional supplement included with the November issue of Air International, the manufacturer is very keen to keep the F-15 line open, courting foreign sales. In reading between the lines it is apparent that what they are willing to offer is a much upgraded F-15 - and this was obviously prepared before the F-15 groundings occurred.

Therefore, if the USAF solution is more F-22s and limited rebuilds of F-15 airframes, then there is a reasonably urgent 'need' for an F-15 customer to re-establish confidence in it, otherwise the F-15 is dead as a saleable product.

If the Australian Government can be convinced that we do not actually need the F-22 capabilities yet, then I really can see the upgraded (both structurally and operationally) F-15 at a really bargain price as being a real option.

Of course, as I said, this has huge ramifications for the F-35 program, however a deal 'could' be done whereby we keep our F-35 options alive by planning an F-35 purchase later in the production run rather than sooner. If you wish the F-15 could be termed an extended period stop-gap until delayed delivery of F-35s (ie:- until we actually need stealth). I have no doubt that F-35 will go ahead, because both the USAF and the USN urgently need to replace aging airframes and there is nothing in the pipeline other than F-35 to do that job in the timescale.

This would keep the F-15 line alive as well as F-22 (for USAF), and 'appear' to keep Australia in F-35 as well. If F-22 was sold to Australia it would set a precedent which would be most embarrassing to the US Administration with regard to Japan and Israel, so this type of deal would tend to suit all concerned.

Finally, if the US won't sell F-22, then US industry has to have something to sell - and if F-16 isn't deemed suitable, and without the F-15 as a saleable item, then they don't have a product in the marketplace (discounting SH, which is already tainted in Australian eyes)

Thoughts?

The Winged Wombat

PS:- I second all of your comments regarding Chateau Cardboard !


[edit on 9/1/08 by The Winged Wombat]



posted on Jan, 9 2008 @ 08:40 PM
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Originally posted by thebozeian
Except when it comes to pilot/engineer rivalry and you go and break a plane in which case it is my singular duty to never let you forget it!


As you are no doubt fully aware, Lee, pilots (like racing car drivers) do not break machinery! They merely highlight the design and engineering inadequacies of the machinery, thus relieving engineers of any ego inflating belief that they might have created perfection (well somebody has to do it!), ultimately advancing the 'state of the art'


Cheers

The Winged Wombat



posted on Jan, 9 2008 @ 09:17 PM
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I can understand the problem here, but I wonder where all the super hornet hate comes from.
It is a very good aircraft.
Also, if the problem is with Boeing, then how is switching to the F-15E going to solve anything? I am sure Boeing would like either aircraft sold. And I am doubly sure that folks in Saint Louis on the f-15 line would push for the f-15 to stay in production as the f-18 still has several years of production left where the f-15 does not.

I think the package works for Australia because they are already flying the F-18 and even though the Super Hornet is a new aircraft in many ways it still shares many common parts. That equates to less training and down time for the RAAF. Also, I am pretty sure that the f-18 is probably the cheapest (proven in combat as well) advanced air to ground fighter out there.



posted on Jan, 10 2008 @ 12:29 AM
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Boeing wins both ways if u were to change aircraft types.
I think the perception stems from think tanks around Australia
stating the f-15 is superior to the rhino.
The F-15 is a mighty beast indeed but i would think the rhino would
be more networked into the battlespace. However that would certainly
be accomadated into the strike eagle in a new build situation.

Maybe it steams back to (in basic terms ) you want a V8 over a V6.



posted on Jan, 10 2008 @ 12:34 AM
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berbalang,

The problem is not particularly with Boeing, but the manner in which Australia ordered the Super Hornet (suspicion of graft and corruption), in that it was never subject to any evaluation or even requirement on behalf of the Australian forces. The aircraft were ordered by the (then) Minister for Defense without consultation with the RAAF.

Historically the Super Hornet is an aircraft with (until now) only one customer (USN) and was originally rejected by that service. They only bought the bird when the A-12 Avenger was canceled and there was no other aircraft available. There is much controversy as to whether it even meets the USN's requirements let alone whether it is a suitable replacement for Australia's F-111 fleet (indeed it's controversial as to whether the F-111s need replacing). The fact that there is such controversy regarding our purchase of the SH does not inspire confidence for any other nation contemplating a SH purchase - quite the opposite of what Boeing hoped to achieve by selling them to us.

The difference, in my opinion, between the Super Hornet and an upgraded F-15 package is that the Super Hornet is already a dead product as far as US export sales are concerned, whereas the F-15 is becoming quite an export earner, albeit blighted by the recent groundings and need for a structural upgrade. Having said that, the F-15 now needs a new customer to re-establish confidence in the product so the production line can be continued.

I feel that the F-15 will get every possible support from the US Administration, as without continued production of the F-15, the only product available for export would be Super Hornet, and basically nobody wants to buy that (including the RAAF). This discounts new versions of the F-16, but that is not really suitable for us either. So if confidence is not restored in the F-15 and the line doesn't continue, then the US has nothing on offer, forcing countries such as Australia to buy elsewhere. Considering the timescales involved, a purchase elsewhere would put F-35 in doubt for us (we would not be ready to replace whatever we buy now when the F-35 eventually becomes available, and we would then wait until the following generation is available) and there would then be a flow on from other countries on that program.

Jezza, if you look at what Singapore has bought (F-15) then you'll see that it is a very different bird, even to the F-15E, and therefore any new aircraft ordered would be perhaps a half generation better - especially if TVC were included. It is not really a matter of how Australian think tanks consider SH - it is a fact that think tanks everywhere are unanimous in their dislike of SH - therefore nobody other than the USN has bought it.

The Winged Wombat


[edit on 10/1/08 by The Winged Wombat]



posted on Jan, 10 2008 @ 12:45 AM
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reply to post by The Winged Wombat
 



The singaporeans ordered with harpoon capability as well??
Personally i like the strike eagle over the rhino.
The intergrated weapon list would be greater and with
conformal tanks for range.



posted on Jan, 10 2008 @ 01:07 AM
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Jezza,

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that regardless of which aircraft is actually best for any particular country, the SH is NOT an export earner for the US. There seems to be unanimous agreement on that one.

On the other hand, recent sales of F-15 have been hand tailored for particular countries requirements.

Boeing's attempt to sell SH to us (it is pretty much agreed) was an attempt to raise the international standing of the bird, such that it does become an export earner. However, because of the controversy surrounding the purchase that attempt has actually backfired.

So there is really no alternative for the US than to promote F-15 as an export earner otherwise they FORCE customers to either wait it out for F-35 (which many countries now seem to doubt they can - either operationally or financially) or buy elsewhere.

So if confidence cannot be restored in F-15, then the US either loses customers or their hand is forced regarding F-22 sales, so I think every effort will be made to re-establish the F-15 as the premier export option.

The Winged Wombat

[edit on 10/1/08 by The Winged Wombat]



posted on Jan, 10 2008 @ 01:14 AM
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You know, I don't really have much to add to this discussion other than a great, big, fat

TOLD YOU SO!

www.abovetopsecret.com...



edit to add:

reply to post by The Winged Wombat
 


So, because we were one of Hornets only OS customers, another jet that had difficulty earning forex, Boeing decided that made us easy prey to buy its mutant offspring?



[edit on 10-1-2008 by HowlrunnerIV]



posted on Jan, 10 2008 @ 03:12 AM
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HowlrunnerIV,

I wouldn't quite put it that way. Australia is considered to be a hard-nosed customer, and for better or worse our purchases do have some significance for other prospective purchasers.

There is no doubt that Boeing has been very keen to find a foreign customer for SH, and the Andrew Peacock (former leader of the Australian Liberal Party and then Ambassador to the US) connection as head of Boeing Australia could lead one to believe that there has been some pretty dirty dealing going on.

So, if the decision had been left to the normal process of requirements and evaluations, I would suggest that a sale of SH to Australia would have been considered anything but 'easy prey'. Therefore it is a simple leap of logic that the decision by the (Liberal Party) Minister of Defense to order SH without a proper evaluation process or even consultation with the RAAF could lead to the belief that it was all somewhat of a retirement present to Andrew Peacock who immediately afterward retired from Boeing Australia. Of course this is all supposition, for one would need some documentary evidence to support any such accusation.


It would certainly be interesting to know the size of Mr. Peacock's retirement bonus under the circumstances.

The Winged Wombat

[edit on 10/1/08 by The Winged Wombat]



posted on Jan, 10 2008 @ 04:41 AM
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reply to post by HowlrunnerIV
 


Personally I would have waited until the order was officially canned before saying something like that! And I'm pretty certain the F-111 retirement date isn't going to change.

This is a pretty tough crowd on the Super Hornet. While I always had issues with the decision to procure it (my earliest threads on Australian Air Combat Musings will show that), I think the SH is a great aircraft. Top radar, good RCS, and when matched with AMRAAM and AIM-9X, JSOW etc, a very lethal platform. Sure, its legs still ain't great, but they're better than the current Hornet (not hard I know, but good enough for our needs). People need to get over the issues that the original Block I aircraft had (and which the Four Corners episode focused on). The Block we are looking at getting doesn't have the same issues. And everyone I've talked to who has flown the aircraft rave about it. If a definite capability need is identified by Labour, and they run with the SH, it will be a good platform for us. As would an F-15S equivalent.

And I can say right here and now, if Australia gets an Su series aircraft, I will do a nude dance at the Brewery in Newcastle, complete with cartwheels, fire sticks and a five minute comedy routine about pineapples...



posted on Jan, 10 2008 @ 05:06 AM
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reply to post by Willard856
 




Oh, god, please, please, can I get front row tickets to that and bring my kids along to see it? And maybe some of my crew? They're already half-convinced that all Australians are certifiably insane!

edit to add:

Actually, all I did was say MAYBE Rudd would review the purchase IF he got elected. So, I still get stand on my desk and maturely chant "nyah, nyah, nyah! You're going home in the back of a Kombi van!"

[edit on 10-1-2008 by HowlrunnerIV]



posted on Jan, 10 2008 @ 05:37 AM
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Just throwing a baited hook here....

Has anyone comsidered that a possible reason for picking the SH is because it apparently has 90% or so parts compatibility with our legacy hornets?

Now I will be the first to admit that is way too logical so the politicians definitely didn't think of that.

I'm actually waiting with interest on the outcome of this inquiry since it affects my livelihood in the not so distant future.



posted on Jan, 10 2008 @ 06:01 AM
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watto,

What would be the benefit of buying an aircraft that has 90% common parts with an aircraft that is due to be replaced by the F-35? Perhaps it might limit the number of spares we would have to purchase to support the SH, but otherwise you are buying compatibility with a platform that should be out of service in 15 years time.

The Winged Wombat



posted on Jan, 10 2008 @ 06:37 AM
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15 years is still a long time for a "interim" aircraft to be on the inventory though.

If for what ever reason they do decide to go ahead with the SH purchase I would like to see at least 4 or 5 modded into Growlers once the new aircraft arrives (dare I say F-35.....).







 
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