posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 10:48 AM
I don't think it is a matter of 'who', but a matter of 'how'. Regardless of who may be a threat, the fact is there is really only one realistic
route for a substantial attack upon Australia, and we 'must' (or at least desire to) retain the capability of striking an aggressor's bases and
infrastructure. Otherwise we find ourselves in the New Zealand situation of only being able to intercept raids. Clearly with the size of our forces
we would not be able to sustain defensive operations for very long without some means of hitting back. Of course this capability does not have to rest
with the RAAF - as in the British situation, such a deterrent could be met by a suitably armed (but less flexible and possibly more expensive)
Ultimately, it may be that we cannot afford a strike force that can inflict sufficient damage (or act as a deterrent) at sufficient distance from our
shores, and that would put us in a much more dangerous situation than New Zealand geographically.
They say a week is a long time in politics. Given that whatever we do buy now must last us for perhaps 50 years, it would be a brave person indeed
who would predict the political leanings of our neighbours over such a time span. Who indeed would have seen the rise of the Taliban, or Bin Laden
(and the possible flow on in Asia) in 1958? Can you say with any confidence who will be running Indonesia, or what their intentions might be in 2058?
With the cost of military assets today, the time required to design and bring them into service and the service life that's expected of them, the
practice of looking 5 years ahead at potential threats is long over - or at least it should be! Indeed the cycle of acquisition and replacement has
far outstripped human ability to predict threats - a rather ridiculous situation militarily, don't you think?
Ignoring for a moment ultimate capabilities, if one is to pursue commonality of platforms (as apparently we are with F-35) then SH does make some
sense (at least in training, if nothing else) in the short term, however, if we were then to withdraw from F-35, then we place ourselves in the
situation that we would be 'forced' (continuing the commonality theme) into more SHs to replace F/A-18As.
While I take your point regarding signature differences between F-15 and SH in the Air Superiority role, I would consider that fully bombed up
examples would be little different.
Therefore, to me, there seems to be some compelling reasons for us to pursue an upgraded F-15 package for both roles - and it doesn't have to be an
F-15S clone either. It would give us greater flexibility regarding F-35, be advantageous to America (both industrially and politically) in
re-establishing confidence in F-15 as an export, take the heat out of the 'foreign F-22 sales debate', and (perhaps) be available at a bargain
Alternatively, if we eventually decide F-35 is not for us (on financial grounds or even because of the single/twin engine debate) and we stick with
SH, then what do we buy to replace F/A-18A - do we buy more SHs? If SH remains an 'orphan' on the international stage, we would be in a similar
situation that now exists with F-111, in that, as the only operator of the type (regardless of how long we can maintain them) there is virtually no
chance of upgrades being designed for them (unless we fund them ourselves) - the significant difference would be that this situation would occur very
early in the life that we would reasonably expect from SH, rather than late in the life of F-111.
The Winged Wombat
PS:- Just for waynos, we could always ask Britain to produce a batch of TSR.2's for us - oops, sorry to get you all excited waynos, you burnt the
drawings, didn't you?
[edit on 18/1/08 by The Winged Wombat]