posted on Oct, 12 2004 @ 04:59 PM
I beleive you are right about unit cost -v- production rate. The problem is while the US Forces continue to slash thier orders - wasn't the original
order for Raptor pre competitior fly offs about 700-800 airframes and today they're talking about only 100-200 airframes. Not to mention your
congress and senate continuously being squimish about funding.
While this situation progresses you can't blame your allies for being wary and having minor heart attacks amongst those who have put thier money on
these type of programs.
Aircraft that are extending in service can't get funding for new airframes or real upgrades while the Force Managers keep chasing that next
innovation or advance. All the while the developed countermeasures supposedly keep stacking up.
There were those in Australia, including the RAAF who wanted Australia to buy new F-15s with the best kit we could fit them with now, while Boeings
line is still open. And wasnt the F-15 a test bed for a lot of Raptor concept technology in the 1980s and early 1990s...Engines for instance.
If that option closes, they even think a buy of F-18E Super Hornets on the same basis might be better for Australia.
We have a internationally respected (he has lectured at the USAF Academy and in Europe) who put forward a proposal to aqquire more stored F-111 and
EF-111 airframes and putting the lot (ours and those) through a strip down and rebuild process to create a 2040+ Supercruise F-111 with all new
systems and technology nose to tail....improved legs, BVRs, SOW and mini bombs. He supports JSF and F-22 but he is concerned these programs will price
and develop themselves out of existence, and right now a mix of F-15s and Uber F-111s would deliver a long term achievable bangs for bucks return for
a country that only has a AUD$20 billion p.a. defence budget for the ADF, that would meet our needs in the region and as a support in coalition
Our old F-18 and standard F-111 crews usually do well in Red Flag exercises btw.
The bottom line is that our national economy has grown from 360 billion AUD$ to over $800 billion AUD - slightly more than doubled. The Raptor
currently costs over AUD$300 million a unit. an F-18E AUD$120 million (very rough US/Aus $$ conversion)...Thats 4 to 7.5 times the mid 80s unit buy
cost of our F-18A/Bs.....and F-35 our next gen buy is still seven to ten years away.
And isnt it amazing how quickly and willingly we race to remove the human element ( not just reaction but judgement based) from our weapons platforms
in the form of UCAV development....It truly is the nintendo generation isn't it......the ultimate form of moral free war. We can bomb any target we
want because we remove the chance that the pilot might pick up on something that is happening outside the view of his TV image before he presses the
tit. Its all down to whats on the scope or programed into the AI, and we can deny knowing reasons NOT to bomb on a given mission......sheesh!