posted on Jan, 9 2008 @ 02:15 PM
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)
The Winged Wombat
PS:- I second all of your comments regarding Chateau Cardboard !
[edit on 9/1/08 by The Winged Wombat]