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Royal Australian Air Force [RAAF] News, Discussions and Updates

This is a discussion on Royal Australian Air Force [RAAF] News, Discussions and Updates within the Air Force & Aviation forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Excellent info, my thanks to you both. Something else exciting to look forward to regarding the ADF....


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Old July 22nd, 2007   #31
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Excellent info, my thanks to you both. Something else exciting to look forward to regarding the ADF.
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Old July 23rd, 2007   #32
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As a partner Australia would expect to pay an equal slice of total program acquisition cost for the number of units, including the 20% extra for development on top of unit procurement costs. This would equate with current AUD-USD exchange rates to 18.8 P-8As. This includes all costs, except through life support that is already budgeted for in operating the Orions. Workforce costs will be the same, P-8As will burn more fuel but maintenance costs will be much lower thanks to using commercial 737 maintenance. This would mean however that the BAMS UAV operating costs would have to be supplemented. Though operating costs for 6-8 BAMS UAVs is going to be much, much lower than 18 AP-3C/P-8As.
A couple of suggestions re costs and efficiencies...

I think Edinburgh and the various forward bases (Cocos, Darwin, Townsville etc) would need pretty big upgrades to adequately support the more sophisticated P-8s if they are acquired. Lots of money to be spent there, and it will likely come from the program cost!

There may also be manning issues with running as many as 18 P-8s. Although they use similar crewing numbers to the P-3, the RAAF Orion force is currently struggling to fill crews for all its aircraft. Additionally, the commercially based P-8 will much likely have a much higher availability rate than the 30+ year old P-3s, thus requiring fewer numbers of aircraft to fulfil the same annual flying rate.

Also, I think you'll find the fuel burn of a modern turbofan-powered P-8 cruising at 25K+ feet may be quite a bit less than the four-engined, fifty year old design T56-powered P-3 at 15K, not to mention the efficiencies to be found in higher transit and cruise speeds etc. In lower level ops the P-3 would rule. Certainly there will be many maintenance efficiencies to be found with the 737-based P-8.

I would suggest a more realistic number would be between 10 and 14 P-8s, plus up to eight Global Hawks which would be 'flown' by ACOs.

AGRA - you going to the US next month?

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Old July 23rd, 2007   #33
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A couple of suggestions re costs and efficiencies...

I think Edinburgh and the various forward bases (Cocos, Darwin, Townsville etc) would need pretty big upgrades to adequately support the more sophisticated P-8s if they are acquired. Lots of money to be spent there, and it will likely come from the program cost!

There may also be manning issues with running as many as 18 P-8s. Although they use similar crewing numbers to the P-3, the RAAF Orion force is currently struggling to fill crews for all its aircraft. Additionally, the commercially based P-8 will much likely have a much higher availability rate than the 30+ year old P-3s, thus requiring fewer numbers of aircraft to fulfil the same annual flying rate.

Also, I think you'll find the fuel burn of a modern turbofan-powered P-8 cruising at 25K+ feet may be quite a bit less than the four-engined, fifty year old design T56-powered P-3 at 15K, not to mention the efficiencies to be found in higher transit and cruise speeds etc. In lower level ops the P-3 would rule. Certainly there will be many maintenance efficiencies to be found with the 737-based P-8.

I would suggest a more realistic number would be between 10 and 14 P-8s, plus up to eight Global Hawks which would be 'flown' by ACOs.

AGRA - you going to the US next month?

Cheers

Magoo
Thanks for this information Magoo. What you have said seems to make a lot of sense so perhaps robsta's original estimate of approx 12 P-8s and 6-8 Global Hawks or similar is not far off the mark. Whatever the final numbers I believe a P-8A/Global Hawk combination will provide an excellent maritime patrol and (in the case of the P-8A) ASW/anti shipping strike force for Australia.

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Old July 23rd, 2007   #34
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at this point in time - as a discrete organic function - no. note my phrasing
Interesting phrasing indeed. I don't think it would be too difficult to do with an active seeker missile like Harpoon, the main hurdle would be establishing a datalink between JORN HQ and the missile system so that they speak the same language. Once the missile is in the general area its seeker would take over anyway.

If they can increase the resolution of JORN sufficiently to get a CONSISTENTLY accurate fix it could even be done with a passive missile - and from what I understand they're working on that right now. Presumably by increasing the sensitivity of the receivers and the filtering algorithms.
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Old July 23rd, 2007   #35
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I don't think it would be too difficult to do with an active seeker missile like Harpoon, the main hurdle would be establishing a datalink between JORN HQ and the missile system so that they speak the same language. Once the missile is in the general area its seeker would take over anyway.

If they can increase the resolution of JORN sufficiently to get a CONSISTENTLY accurate fix it could even be done with a passive missile - and from what I understand they're working on that right now. Presumably by increasing the sensitivity of the receivers and the filtering algorithms.
I've got a mate in USAF who's responsible for planning and co-ordinating the air war against a specific country - one of the things he's excited about is that he sees that JORN can be used as part of the way point solution for a variety of weapons systems.

One big hand off solution (so to speak!)
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Old July 23rd, 2007   #36
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I think Edinburgh and the various forward bases (Cocos, Darwin, Townsville etc) would need pretty big upgrades to adequately support the more sophisticated P-8s if they are acquired. Lots of money to be spent there, and it will likely come from the program cost!
Capital infrastructure investment for modernisation of legacy capabilities is never included in the actual program cost. ARH, M1A1, C-130J, etc. Only when a new, additional capability is acquired has this kind of infrastructure being included or recieved its own supplementals.

Air 7000 Phase 2 has a forward estimate as high as AUD 4.5 billion within the DCP which is money for more than 18 P-8s. If the MMA project does not go over budget FMS unit procurement will only cost ~ USD 150 million for each P-8A. The advantage of the 737-800 is the economies of scale make the vehicle system so cheap.

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There may also be manning issues with running as many as 18 P-8s. Although they use similar crewing numbers to the P-3, the RAAF Orion force is currently struggling to fill crews for all its aircraft. Additionally, the commercially based P-8 will much likely have a much higher availability rate than the 30+ year old P-3s, thus requiring fewer numbers of aircraft to fulfil the same annual flying rate.
Everyone is struggling in the ADF for bodies but that doesn't mean equipment purchases are being reduced in volume.


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Also, I think you'll find the fuel burn of a modern turbofan-powered P-8 cruising at 25K+ feet may be quite a bit less than the four-engined, fifty year old design T56-powered P-3 at 15K, not to mention the efficiencies to be found in higher transit and cruise speeds etc. In lower level ops the P-3 would rule. Certainly there will be many maintenance efficiencies to be found with the 737-based P-8.
Probably right on the fuel but I doubt the P-8As will fly different profiles to the AP-3Cs except in transit.

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I would suggest a more realistic number would be between 10 and 14 P-8s, plus up to eight Global Hawks which would be 'flown' by ACOs.
I'm not sure where this assumption that the number of MPAs will go down with has come from but everyone except the Government is subscribing to it.
The accounting is straight forward and we shouldn't be trying to fit those numbers into preconcieved force structure numbers. The demand at the moment is for ISR, ISR and more ISR. Now is not the time to be cutting numbers of MPAs. Especially as the BAMS UAV is going to run on a very small workforce. The Govt. would appear to have put up more than enough money to one for one replace the AP-3Cs.

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AGRA - you going to the US next month?
Really PM type discussion, please.
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Old July 23rd, 2007   #37
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Interesting phrasing indeed. I don't think it would be too difficult to do with an active seeker missile like Harpoon, the main hurdle would be establishing a datalink between JORN HQ and the missile system so that they speak the same language. Once the missile is in the general area its seeker would take over anyway.

If they can increase the resolution of JORN sufficiently to get a CONSISTENTLY accurate fix it could even be done with a passive missile - and from what I understand they're working on that right now. Presumably by increasing the sensitivity of the receivers and the filtering algorithms.
I'm not sure you would need to datalink the data to the missle, perhaps the launch platform? This would allow the launch platform to launch below the radar horizon without using its surface search radar. You would think even a block II harpoon at low level has a search radius big enough to correct for target movement in the time from launch to aquisition???

As for passive seekers i though the aquisition area was similar (or not massively smaller) than active seekers in low level penitration???
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Old July 23rd, 2007   #38
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I'm not sure you would need to datalink the data to the missle, perhaps the launch platform? This would allow the launch platform to launch below the radar horizon without using its surface search radar. You would think even a block II harpoon at low level has a search radius big enough to correct for target movement in the time from launch to aquisition???

As for passive seekers i though the aquisition area was similar (or not massively smaller) than active seekers in low level penitration???
I believe that some sort of mid-flight update would be needed if attempting to target using JORN. Other members undoubtably have more and better info on JORN, but there is a limit to the resolution JORN provides. IIRC JORN can determine to within something like a 400 sq mile box (if anyone can provide more accurate public data, please do) which works out to about a 32 km x 32 km (1,024 sq km) area. As far as I'm aware, that is about what the radar horizon is for something at sea level. Given that the target would be a moving vessel, if a 67 n mile Block II was fired at max range from a ship, it would take approximately 6.75 minutes to reach the appropriate area. If the targeted vessel was moving at only 18 kts, it would have enough time to move a further 3.75 km or basically a 36 km x 36 km (1,296 sq km) search area which I believe would be potentially beyond the radar horizon.

Radar horizon assuming radar location at altitude of 10m (standard for Harpoon AShM) and max height of target is 20m (radar/comm mast), radar horizon is approximately 31.5 km

If a longer-ranged Block II (I've seen different ranges quoted) then the need for a mid-flight update becomes even more pronounced as the flight time to the target area allows the targeted vessel time to move, expanding the target area.

One possible resolution to this, though it would still involve mid-flight updating, would be for a pair or series of missiles to be fired into the target area. Each missile would be assigned their own sub area of the grid to search. On one missile detecting the intended target, it would relay the location to the other missiles which could then conduct a swarm attack.

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Old July 23rd, 2007   #39
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Orion replacement

Sorry GF, I meant to post this report in this thread, Instead posted in Royal Navy thread.

Orion Replacement

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First Pass Approval for Orion Replacement


(Source: Australian Minister for Defence; issued July 20, 2007)



I am pleased to announce that the Government has given first pass approval for AIR 7000 Phase 2 – a A$4 billion project for Defence to acquire a manned Maritime Patrol and Response Aircraft (MPRA).

The manned MPRA, in conjunction with the Multi-mission Unmanned Aerial System being acquired by Defence under AIR 7000 Phase 1, will replace the capability currently provided by the AP-3C Orion.

The AP-3C Orion is planned to be retired in 2018 after over 30 years of service.

First pass approval has been granted to allow Defence to commence formal negotiations with the United States Navy (USN) to participate in the cooperative development of the P-8A Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA).

Following an exhaustive examination of available options, the USN chose the Boeing Company to develop the P-8A MMA based on its 737 commercial aircraft. The P-8A MMA offers a modern, highly reliable commercially-proven airframe with the latest maritime surveillance and attack capabilities.

The P-8A will be equipped with modern Anti-Submarine Warfare, Anti-Surface Warfare and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance sensors that have evolved from proven systems. The P-8A will be capable of broad-area, maritime, littoral and limited overland operations.

Through its participation in the proposed cooperative development of the MMA, Defence will assist in providing opportunities for Australian industry as well as gain an ability to positively influence development of the MMA Program.
Mod edit: AP-3C Orion and replacement will be operated by the RAAF.
-Preceptor

Last edited by Preceptor; July 23rd, 2007 at 06:28 PM. Reason: Moved from RAN discussion thread
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Old July 23rd, 2007   #40
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Are their any plans for the RAAF to operate a ARM?
This question arises with the ongoing development of the AGM-88E
AGM-88E AARGM Missile: No Place To Hide Down There
I haven't found information yet though have not performed a thorough search of the DMO. Is the capability requirement present for the RAAF?
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Old July 31st, 2007   #41
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Additional C-17 for RAF, will RAAF follow suit?

Given that the RAAF is looking at replacing the C-130H Hercules and DHC-4 Caribou and that a possible Caribou replacement is the C-27J Spartan, does anyone think the RAAF might get additional C-17 Globemasters?

I would think a replacement structure for the ~12 DHC-4 Caribou and 12 C-130H Hercules, consisting of ~12 C-27J Spartans, ~2 C-17 Globemasters and ~6 KC-130J Hercules II would be sensible. Even better would be a one for one replacement of C-130H model with either KC-130J or just -J models, though I would like to see at least a few of the KC variants.

What do others think of this?

Also, would a KC version of the C-27J potentially be useful, or is it not large enough to be worthwhile?

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Old July 31st, 2007   #42
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Given that the RAAF is looking at replacing the C-130H Hercules and DHC-4 Caribou and that a possible Caribou replacement is the C-27J Spartan, does anyone think the RAAF might get additional C-17 Globemasters?

I would think a replacement structure for the ~12 DHC-4 Caribou and 12 C-130H Hercules, consisting of ~12 C-27J Spartans, ~2 C-17 Globemasters and ~6 KC-130J Hercules II would be sensible. Even better would be a one for one replacement of C-130H model with either KC-130J or just -J models, though I would like to see at least a few of the KC variants.

What do others think of this?

Also, would a KC version of the C-27J potentially be useful, or is it not large enough to be worthwhile?

-Cheers
I'm not sure about additional C-17s. It would always be good to have more but 4 x C-17s provides an excellent capability for what is a numerically small defence force.

I will be very surprised if the C-130H replacement does not include KC-130Js to provide a refuelling capability to support army helos, and I think a one for one replacement with a mix of C-130J and KC-130Js is possible. Originally there was an expectation that the C-130H force would reduced (by up to half) when the C-17s came into service but, AFAIK, that doesn't seem to be happening. There has also been talk on other forums of a small AC-130 capability being added to the RAAF's order of battle.

It would be good to hear from Magoo and/or AGRA re the latest about these issues.

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Old July 31st, 2007   #43
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Given that the RAAF is looking at replacing the C-130H Hercules and DHC-4 Caribou and that a possible Caribou replacement is the C-27J Spartan, does anyone think the RAAF might get additional C-17 Globemasters?

I would think a replacement structure for the ~12 DHC-4 Caribou and 12 C-130H Hercules, consisting of ~12 C-27J Spartans, ~2 C-17 Globemasters and ~6 KC-130J Hercules II would be sensible. Even better would be a one for one replacement of C-130H model with either KC-130J or just -J models, though I would like to see at least a few of the KC variants.

What do others think of this?

Also, would a KC version of the C-27J potentially be useful, or is it not large enough to be worthwhile?

-Cheers
I think the current thinking is to replace the Caribous and some of the C-130Hs with C-27s - perhaps 14-16 in total. A few more C-130Js are also in the mix, as is a handful of KC-130Js.

There has been talk of a fifth C-17, as five seems to be an optimum fleet number (e.g. one in maintenance, one away on deployment, one goes U/S, still leaves you two) in order to maintain an air bridge for a few days if things go critical, e.g. another Bali etc.

There may also be a few more Chinooks of the CH-47F variety to help replace the Caribou's STOL capability, and the current CH-47Ds may also be remanufactured to CH-47F standard.

Look also for the KC-30B tankers to possibly receive cargo doors and strengthened floors if Defence can get its act together quick enough to have this work done during manufacture of aircraft 3, 4 and 5, otherwise there may be a mod done on them in a few years similar to what the Kiwis are doing with their 757s.

Any KC-27J would make us sole operators and hence we'd have to fork out for the NREs - bit of a long shot for such a small fleet.

Cheers

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Old August 1st, 2007   #44
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Lurking sounds so ominous...
snip
As a partner Australia would expect to pay an equal slice of total program acquisition cost for the number of units, including the 20% extra for development on top of unit procurement costs.
snip
Just out of curiosity, I was under the impression that initially Australia rejected an offer to join the MMA project a couple of years back.
Would Australia have been better off in any way to have initially accepted?
ie has accepting now incurred any cost penalty...?

cheers
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Old August 1st, 2007   #45
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I think the current thinking is to replace the Caribous and some of the C-130Hs with C-27s - perhaps 14-16 in total. A few more C-130Js are also in the mix, as is a handful of KC-130Js.

There has been talk of a fifth C-17, as five seems to be an optimum fleet number (e.g. one in maintenance, one away on deployment, one goes U/S, still leaves you two) in order to maintain an air bridge for a few days if things go critical, e.g. another Bali etc.

There may also be a few more Chinooks of the CH-47F variety to help replace the Caribou's STOL capability, and the current CH-47Ds may also be remanufactured to CH-47F standard.

Look also for the KC-30B tankers to possibly receive cargo doors and strengthened floors if Defence can get its act together quick enough to have this work done during manufacture of aircraft 3, 4 and 5, otherwise there may be a mod done on them in a few years similar to what the Kiwis are doing with their 757s.

Any KC-27J would make us sole operators and hence we'd have to fork out for the NREs - bit of a long shot for such a small fleet.

Cheers

Magoo
Do you envisage the C-130Js and KC-130Js operating as one squadron (like the present 'super' squadron of C130J/C130Hs) or as separate units?

It would certainly be good to see a fifth C-17 for the reasons you have given and the idea of cargo doors and strengthened floors for the tankers makes sense. I can't understand why the RAAF didn't opt for this in the first place. Do you see any chance of additional KC-30Bs or do you believe the RAAF will be satisfied that a mix of 5 x KC-30Bs and a number (4-6?) of KC-130Js will be sufficient to meet its needs?

Cheers
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