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AUS set to cancel Super Hornet order

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posted on Jan, 23 2008 @ 04:00 AM

Originally posted by The Winged Wombat
...The only question for China to answer is can they gain control of Australia before American conventional forces (hard pressed in the ME) can come to Australia's aid (or if indeed they will decide to come to our aid).

The Winged Wombat

[edit on 19/1/08 by The Winged Wombat]

Read your whole scenario and thought of cutting it up and responding to to each bit, but then got lazy..

So I just moved to the crux of the post that I quoted above.
So here the protector is unable to provide timely assistance the protectee for various reasons. How can the protectee respond in such a situation?

1)Can the protectee cut/disrupt supply lines to the Chinese SE campaign? You know, disrupt sea routes with em' collinses, rodger em' bases with the aardvarks etc..

2)Can the protectee strengthen this disruptive activity by having a fulltime ally? Sing naval forces can hopefully shift some assets to Oz staging areas before Spore is overrun. Can they count on Indian assistance?
Especially since the Indian Navy will generally have no real competition in the InOc region. the USN will be busy escorting the minimal oil supply that gets out of straits and they'd also be busy in strategic engagement of inland targets in the ME. The IN may have some peripheral escort role assigned to it, along with maybe blockading the Pak ports, but thats about it.
Its strategic sub forces and an entire carrier wing can assist the Oz.

3)Can this force stem(even blockade) all chinese seaborne energy supplies?

4)Can an Oz carrier help in this case?

IMHO, I think all can be answered in a affirmative.
There is no way in hell that India would just sit by and watch China trample over SE Asia, irrespective of any pressure applied by Pakistan, or anyone else. Its just something that doesn't sit with the Indian doctrine as I see it.

posted on Jan, 23 2008 @ 05:28 AM

Originally posted by Daedalus3
What's the sentiment of the Australian people? Their votes can shape government policies right? What's the Rudd Govt like?

Re: Carriers. The sentiment of the Australian people is that roughly half of them don't remember a time when Australia had one (let alone 2). So, you don't miss what you never had. It would require a lot of political and military inertia to convince those people of the need to spend the money a carrier (or 2) requires. Plus, before the introduction of JSF-35 you would need to rent a sqn of Harriers. Last time we did that was Mirages and while I was alive I don't *remember* it.

I still believe(call me thick-headed) that Australia should strive for 'strategic independence' from the US that it currently does not have IMHO.

So do I. But we are defending a continent with a population smaller than Canada's. We could all move to Mumbai and still be able to rent property out.

I believe a RAAN carrier force make a difference, in a pure military capability sense and a geo-political sense as well.

Of course it would. HMAS Sydney and her Sea Furies deployed to Korea, meaning the RN could relax by one carrier. The problem is that Sydney's sister ship, HMAS Melbourne, our last carrier, is these days more chiefly remembered for two unfortunate incidents in which the HMAS Voyager and USS Frank Evans thought standing in a carrier's way was a good idea.

Is it just that the economy cannot support that initiative at this stage? I'm confused

The problem isn't just the economy, it's manning the ships as well. Australia has always had difficulty maintaining recruitment for it's all-volunteer, professional defence forces. In the last decade this difficulty has grown worse than ever before.

HMAS Melbourne ran 1,300 people (inc air wing), HMAS Adelaide (FFG) needs 150-250, HMAS Hobart (Adelaide's replacement) will (in 5 years or so) need around 200 or so personnel.

I really do not get this 'protector' concept. What if your protector turns on you? Ok, I doubt protectors turn on their 'protectees' on the drop of a hat, but hey, what's stopping them from looking the other way, or intentionally delaying assistance etc.?

Well, 1972 is hardly the drop of a hat, but I'd say the Taiwanese would be standing up and chanting "Amen!" to each of your questions. Let's face it, Taiwan (a democracy) is being told by the US (a democracy) not to hold a referendum on UN application because it might piss off China (a communist dictatorship). Didn't W just spend the last four years telling us of the virtues democracy would bring to the Middle East?

Originally posted by Harlequin
Well technically the UK doesn`t `need` carrier by teh assestment - they have bomber capabilitiy right up there with the `varks (up there does not equal to) and more advanced fighters

That's right, technically, but the last time the RAF tried that trick they produced a map which had managed to shift Perth 200nmi west! You see, RAF said, hey, with friendly airbases all over the world and the magid of air-to-air refueling, we can provide air cover to the RN anywhere on the globe. The pollies, proving that any moron can get elected in a democracy, nearly bought the argument, until someone in the RN pointed out how long it would take a RAF jet to fly across the world to defend the fleet at sea and how much it would cost and how few jets the RAF would have available to defend the RN in the event of noisy happenings in the Fulda Gap.

and yet teh RN is screaming for the new carriers

Because the RN knew how wrong the RAF was 30+ years ago, but that didn't mean they didn't have to disguise HMS Invincible in the literature by calling it (and Illustrious and Ark Royal) a "through-deck cruiser". Luckily there was a jet being introduced that was perfect for the "through-deck cruiser" (or, rather, the Harrier Carrier happened to be perfect for its plane) and in 1982 the RAF proved how much good they would have been to the fleet when they missed the runway while bombing Stanley Airport. The FAA, on the other hand, had just proved how absolutely indispensable it was.

Knowing what a disaster Operation Corporate would have been without (and very nearly was with) Hermes, Invincible and their Harriers, the RN wants to be without carriers (as they very nearly were back then) about as much as they want to see HMS Victory leading them into battle again.

power projection is whats needed - and aa force of pressence.

The Harrier wasn't about power projection, it was about fleet defence. The power was being projected on the ground by the Paras and Bootnecks, BUT they couldn't have done it without Harrier protecting them on the way there. HMS Conqueror projected power fairly convincingly.

Pig projects power quite handily throughout Indonesia. To quote Jon Stevens "reach out and touch someone".

Originally posted by Daedalus3
2)Can the protectee strengthen this disruptive activity by having a fulltime ally? Sing naval forces can hopefully shift some assets to Oz staging areas before Spore is overrun.

It's been done before. We could also hopefully get any surviving Fighting Falcons to Tindal.

Can they count on Indian assistance?
Its strategic sub forces and an entire carrier wing can assist the Oz.

3)Can this force stem(even blockade) all chinese seaborne energy supplies?

There is a high likelihood. Given that those energy supplies must pass through, or close to, the Straits of Mallace, the Sunda Strait, the Banka Strait, the Makassar Strait and, of course, the Singapore Strait. That's a lot of territory giving potential bottle-necks. Any Chines force wishing to go adventuring further south would definitely have to pass through 2, if not 3, of those narrow waterways. (I can't see the PLA choosing rationally to fight in Papua New Guinea. Just because we have better malaria medicine than quinine, it wouldn't be any easier than '42.)

4)Can an Oz carrier help in this case?

That depends. Any carrier we can afford is quite limited in the number of aircraft it can embark. If they own Indonesian real estate, there is no similar limit on how many Shenyangs, Chengdus and F10s the Chinese can park there. The only way to win in such a straight-up numbers game (in my obviously tactically superior view) is for a combined Aus/Indian CBG that could put large numbers of aircraft in the sky at once. The problem is that yours are Harriers (and old ones) flying off even older decks. Ours would be the similarly short-legged JSF-35.

In the Falklands the Super Entendards were attacking at the extreme end of their range, the Harriers were defending. In the Indonesian archipeligo a C'wealth maritime force would be attacking, putting them on short combat leashes, while the defenders (land-based aircraft) would have the advantage of both range and combat time.

posted on Jan, 23 2008 @ 07:45 AM

On the subject of my 'scenario' - once again it was merely an example without a lot of deep thought or time spent on it.

But within that scenario, my reasoning for lack of intervention (of China) was that India would have radical Islamic states to both East and West and would be more than happy to see those to the East disappear without having to deflect their attention, and forces, from India's Western borders. In effect India and China would have the same threat against them, and for the time being at least would be uneasy allies. How India would respond to a call for help from Australia would then very much depend on the between India and a very militant Pakistan backed by Iran.

But that doesn't alter the point I'm trying to make - and that is that we can only afford to 'hold the line' until the cavalry arrives. Whether the cavalry offers us Texas Chilli or Madras Curry on their arrival is actually irrelevant. By discussing Indian intervention, you have proved my point.

There is certainly no feeling among Australia's population that we ever need to expand. We have more than enough land and resources for many times our population. The very fact of our large land mass and our small population determines that we cannot afford what others of a similar land mass, but much larger populations can afford.

Leaving aside what international responsibilities we might have (such as support of even smaller nations in the Pacific) and what equipment we might order to fill those roles, we are very much in a position of defending our own shores from anyone who might covert our resources.

I have no doubt that every country on earth would dearly love to be independent of any 'protector' but the fact of the matter is that we cannot all be superpowers. So what protects us from our protector - well the 'lipstick and powder'. That may be in the form of trading status, simply as a purchaser of product, investment, raw materials or political support on the world stage (the coalition of the willing , for instance) or any number of things that the 'protector' feels is valuable to them. Certainly it puts the protectee in some tight situations from time to time, Much as Mr Musharef has been aligning himself somewhat differently than his people might want him to.

That India is 'non-aligned' is as much a matter of economy, manpower and scale of industry as it is a matter of desire.

Then, we have the choice of what we should spend our defense dollars on. One has to take an appropriate stance in your own backyard. For instance, Canada and Mexico do not get all upset if America makes more nuclear weapons (because America is rich enough, and willing to take on Superpower responsibilities around the world), but imagine the outcry from America, and Central America if Mexico were to obtain nuclear weapons - the immediate question would be 'What do you need them for and who do you intend to use them on?'

So in purely economic terms, we could possibly defend Australia cheaper with a few counter air squadrons and some nuclear tipped ICBMs, but local International politics would make that situation just as silly as Mexico doing it. Likewise a purchase of, say, B-1 (which might do that defense job for us), or before that B-52s would be seen as threatening and overkill on our part (because they can do so much more over a much longer range)

I understand that others may see our F-111s as an offensive force, however given the use I've described (the ability to hit back against the only land areas within our local region, and therefore from where any sustained attack on us must come - if not necessarily originate) then consider what other platforms have ever been available to us with the range to do that. So what others may see as a long range offensive force, is by virtue of a lack of alternative platforms actually a part of our defense force.

However, to maintain that ability, we can't do it with short range single engined fighters, so while F-16 might make a great bomb-truck for Israel, it just wouldn't do the job we need done (in Howlrunner's comments - F-16s at Tindal would merely clog up the parking areas unable to reach any worthwhile targets), and to get that specific job done we probably have to buy something that does more than we actually want simply due to the lack of suitable alternatives.

Therefore the purchase of a carrier must have more threatening overtones for our neighbours, as a carrier truly represents the ability to project power as well as the many other functions it is able to perform.

The Australian public has no collective aspirations against any nation really. If Australia, as a whole has any aspirations at all - it is how to make more money with less effort.

As to the Government - I don't know. Kevin Rudd represents a party on the left of politics, but as everyone tells me, 'the Right is the new Left'. A few years ago his party would have been cutting defense spending and boosting social services. Yes, he is focusing, at the moment on Education and Monetary policy, but rather than his predecessors would have done, he is (it appears to me) addressing fundamental issues rather than just throwing money at the problems. I've never been a supporter of his party, but I find his approach interesting, so I'm willing to wait and see what he can and will be able to achieve regarding many issues.

As to any intentions regarding anyone outside Australia, the government has quite enough on its hands internally to keep it busy. Among these are Education, Health Services, Infrastructure, Near full employment, Monetary Policy (we have the unusual situation where US and others are lowering interest rates and ours are going up to control inflation), and Defense Acquisitions. And I guess the rather ridiculous situation with Mr Haneef generated by the previous government will add to the severity of his headaches as well.

The Winged Wombat

[edit on 23/1/08 by The Winged Wombat]

posted on Jan, 23 2008 @ 07:58 AM

We owned (and locally built all but the first few of) the Mirages.

What we rented was 24 F-4E Phantoms as a stop-gap between the Canberra and the rather delayed F-111, so that didn't involve Mirages in any way.

Not unlike the situation with F-111 - SH - F-35, really.

The Winged Wombat

[edit on 23/1/08 by The Winged Wombat]

posted on Jan, 23 2008 @ 09:28 PM
reply to post by The Winged Wombat

Ah, mea culpa.

On F-16, maybe I wasn't clear, I was thinking more of basing RSAF F-16s at Tindal for purely defence purposes in the event of Singapore being overrun by an invasion from the north. I've seen them at Adelaide International often enough during exercises.

Your assessment makes a great deal of sense. From Singapore's point of view they are small, cheap and versatile and have enough range to defend their small island, whose neighbours are rather closer than ours.

posted on Jan, 23 2008 @ 11:47 PM
Sure, and they would be a welcome addition in that role (or the shorter range A2G role), however looking at the ability to hit the incoming forces at their point of origin (on their airfields or carriers) or to do some infrastructure damage then something with a longer range is required.

So (without considering single/twin arguments) while F-16 could possibly be considered in a competition as an air superiority fighter (or a short range tactical fighter - a separate luxury we can't really afford), there is no way that you could consider it as an F-111 replacement in the role we employ it.

Which brings us back to the original question of whether F/A-18F is a suitable replacement for F-111, and whether we deem it appropriate to maintain that capability as part of our defense structure.

Please consider that my 'scenario' was merely an example to defend the retention of the F-111's role, not something to sidetrack the debate.

The Winged Wombat

[edit on 24/1/08 by The Winged Wombat]

posted on Jan, 25 2008 @ 02:49 AM
Well lets presume that the scenario takes place say 5-10 years down the line.

The RSAF will have its F-15SGs and those would do wonders to any defensive CAP or Northern Australia etc..

Besides the S'poreans have even leased out some space on an AFB in India, all the way back near Calcutta(Kolkatta) somewhere.

Will reply to WW's posts later. Now occupied with the Hayden onslaught!

posted on Jan, 25 2008 @ 04:23 AM
reply to post by Daedalus3
Well thats two nice ideas you have raised there Daedalus. It makes one wonder if the Singaporeans will look at buying some more F-15SG's (or possibly a Super Eagle variant) if they fail to see the attraction in the JSF. And the likelyhood as I see it, is that JSF will be seen buy them as a direct F-16 replacement, particularly any early batches they may want to replace.

And the second good idea?... watching Hayden

And that was a lovely display from the "Little master" I might add.


[edit on 25-1-2008 by thebozeian]

posted on Jan, 25 2008 @ 06:01 AM
Air support for commercial shipping to the North of Oz would become important if commercial raiders were sinking shipping traffic should the Straits of Malacca be blocked. In such a scenario submarine based naval conflicts would occur North of Oz in a very big way. As in WWII US and Aussie submarine assets operating out of Stirling and Fremantle would probably be heaviliy utilised. A naval air arm would be vital to Oz in these scenarios. Darwin would also be very vulnerable (again) to attack; the new Brahmos missiles being bought by the Indons could reach Darwin from the archipeligo, and they may not necesserily be conventional either.

[edit on 25-1-2008 by and01]

posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 02:22 AM
Well I'm surpiised no one has found this yet,

Probably a little off topic for a SH thread but figured the fact that their supposedly talking of a new bomber "more comparable to the General Dynamics F-111 than either the Boeing B-52 or Northrop B-2" (quote from the link) to be online around 2018.....
, sort of weighs into the debate about PIG replacements.

Gotta think that if the yanks realise how handy a bomber of this type is in the modern war, especially when considering loiter times and the dependence on tankers for some other types, maybe the capability isn't so bad to have in your back pocket.

Of course I personally consider being able to strike at the enemies heart instead of only being able to defend/attack when they come to you is an even better capability to have (Yeah sure SH and even classic hornet could do that, but only with a tanker or two).

posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 05:17 AM
reply to post by watto

yes i did read it.
it is exactly what the RAAF would love to have.

FB 22 or 23 variant or B3 would be attractive to the RAAF and alot of
other countries as well.

[edit on 27-1-2008 by Jezza]

posted on Jan, 30 2008 @ 04:09 AM
Well it doesnt take long for the bureaucrats to start distancing themselves from a previous administration and singing a new tune it seems.

Head of the ADF Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston is doing a subtle little two step shuffle regarding Ex minister of defence Nelson's rushed SH decision. He does point out however that the Australian government and RAAF have limited choices and time regarding other options. And adds that any F-111 retirement reversal will have to be done pretty quickly. You can bet however that somewhere in the bowels of a RAAF planning office there is a contingency strategy to deal with just such a situation. Take a look at the story Here for more detail. It is not so much what he is saying but what he is NOT saying. He certainly is distancing himself from the previous administrations decision. Maybe we really are going to see the order cancelled?


posted on Feb, 4 2008 @ 09:07 AM
I'm actually a fan of the Super Hornet. What it lacks in cutting edge technology it makes up with it's streamlined design and low mantinence costs. I feel many current generation fighters are over-engineered. The super hornet is the refinement of a proven design and features 42% fewer structual parts, lower radar signature and greater combat range then the F/A-18C/D.

The Su-34 would be the best replacement for the F-111 but it's more important for us to keep good defense relations with the US and when it comes to logistics it's more sensible to stay with NATO equipment. Buying the Eurofighter or Rafale would be options but I believe the F/A-18F while not perfect for our requirements is better then these two.

The other choice would be the F-15 but higher maintenance costs, larger radar cross section and less capable maritime strike ability make the F/A-18F more appealing to me then this option. Our airforce is also more familiar with the operations of the F/A-18 then any of these other options, so all in all I think the Super Hornet is not a bad choice given the options.

[edit on 4-2-2008 by Tolwyn]

posted on Feb, 4 2008 @ 09:18 AM
reply to post by Tolwyn

It seems and rightly so that combat radius is more so the key issue and the load out of the aircraft when on that mission. Your reasoning on costs and maintenance are good ones but it seems like the RAAF and other Aussies like to keep a offensive ability and many feel the SH wont be able to provided it.

posted on Feb, 4 2008 @ 09:35 AM
reply to post by Canada_EH

I agree but given the options and future options available there isn't much in the way of fighter/bombers that could fill the F-111's role well (besides the Su-34 and that's not going to happen). Considering the JSF isn't going to give us the range and strike capability of the F-111 even when it does arrive we are going to have to rethink our strategies anyway. Long range JASSM missiles or something similar fired from F/A-18s may have to be the replacement for the F-111.

[edit on 4-2-2008 by Tolwyn]

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 08:34 AM
Well if they want to cancel the F-18 they better hurry and get in gear since production on the first F-18/F for the RAAF started as of Feb 5th 2008.

Northrop Grumman Taps Long Island Company to Begin Production of First F/A-18F Super Hornet for Royal Australian Air Force

[edit on 7-2-2008 by Canada_EH]

posted on Feb, 9 2008 @ 04:11 AM
seems to be the case.
the superhornet will go through.
Fortunately, it appears as if the air combat review, at least, is being fast-tracked, with my understanding that it could be concluded as soon as MAY........

seasprite still looks like dieing and the ffg upgrade as well.
aus has requested penguin missile intergration onto seahawks. (for the short term until new choppers)
penguin was suppose to arm seaspites

Meanwhile, it finally seems the Seasprite will soon be put out of its misery, with the DMO recently requesting urgent RFPs from Sikorsky and Eurocopter for up to 27 MH-60R/S or NFH 90 helicopters respectively to replace the Seasprite as well as the Seahawk under an accelerated Air 9000 Phase 8.
If the requirement is an urgent one, and one suspects it will be if Navy chooses to replace Seahawk and Seasprite at the same time, then Sikorsky with its proven MH-60R/S may be in the box seat due to ongoing delays with the naval variant of the NH 90. Such an acquisition would go against the goals of the Air 9000 rationalisation program. Conversely, it would provide an off-the-shelf and US interoperable solution in a shorter time scale.

[edit on 9-2-2008 by Jezza]

posted on Feb, 9 2008 @ 10:47 AM
A figure of $350 million is the one being suggested as teh cancellation charge - and would be an awefully lot cheaper than getting an aircraft they don`t want.

posted on Feb, 20 2008 @ 07:13 PM

Australia's defense chief praised the F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet Wednesday after the defense minister warned a multibillion dollar contract to buy 24 of the Boeing-manufactured aircraft could be scrapped if the plane does not meed the country's needs.


This article says that the order is still on track.

Reading later, it says that the F/A-18 E/F's are far superior than anything else for them, except F-35 and F-22. My question is how does the Super Hornet fit better into the role of the F-111 than either the F-111 or even something like the Su-34?

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