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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; Originally Posted by Tasman Do you envisage the C-130Js and KC-130Js operating as one squadron (like the present 'super' squadron ...


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Old August 1st, 2007   #46
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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
wasnt gonna post this info as its only hearsay. I was drinking on mitchel st darwin bout a month ago,with a USAF C17 crew on their way to Amberly,(they spoke very freely) and they were under the impression that we had already ordered the 5th C17.
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Old August 1st, 2007   #47
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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?
Not sure, however I suspect the super squadron model with 20+ aircraft and 400+ personnel isn't sustainable. I get the impression it was established that way just until the C-130Hs are out of service.

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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.
It wasn't originally done because the option wasn't available on the A330 when the aircraft were ordered. The A330F was only officially launched by Airbus late last year, and as our first aircraft had already been delivered to EADS CASA for its mods and long lead items for the 2nd were already in place, it would be too late to mod these aircraft. As for 3, 4 and 5, I believe it's still an option but wont be for long.

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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?
Probably not. If acquired, I'd imagine the KC-130Js will mainly be used to support Army CH-47F and MRH90 helos, both of which are plumbed for but not with AAR. They may also be acquired under funding from the Project Redfin special ops recapitalisation budget rather than Air 8000.

The big issue facing the ADF is crewing - it's all well and good to have the money to buy all these shiny new toys, but who's going to fly them???

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Old August 3rd, 2007   #48
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Fac

Hi Guys,
First post here so go easy!

Has anybody heard about the re-formation of 4 squadron to carry out FAC duties? FACDU and the Special Tactics team will be merged to form the new squadron within the next couple of years. It has also been suggested that FACDU's PC9s will be replaced with a combat capable type to carry out fast FAC duties.

So my question is, what aircraft do you people think the RAAF should purchase to fill this role? Personally I like the idea of more Hawks being purchased.

Hooroo.
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Old August 3rd, 2007   #49
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Hi Guys,
First post here so go easy!

Has anybody heard about the re-formation of 4 squadron to carry out FAC duties? FACDU and the Special Tactics team will be merged to form the new squadron within the next couple of years. It has also been suggested that FACDU's PC9s will be replaced with a combat capable type to carry out fast FAC duties.

So my question is, what aircraft do you people think the RAAF should purchase to fill this role? Personally I like the idea of more Hawks being purchased.

Hooroo.

FA-18Fs could be transferred to this duty once (if) they are replaced by F-35As in the strike role but this will be at least ten years away and I suspect that the cost of buying additional SHs just for this role would be prohibitive.

A strong candidate must also be any replacement (e.g. the PC-21) chosen to replace the PC-9 in the training role. As designed I believe that the PC-21 is unarmed but I see no reason why an Australian manufactured version could not be given a reasonable armament for the FAC role.

If cost is not a problem I would choose the FA-18F. If funds are scarce I would favour the PC-21. On balance, though, I think the Hawk might prove suitable for the task and provide good value for money.

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Old August 3rd, 2007   #50
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Hi Guys,
First post here so go easy!

Has anybody heard about the re-formation of 4 squadron to carry out FAC duties? FACDU and the Special Tactics team will be merged to form the new squadron within the next couple of years. It has also been suggested that FACDU's PC9s will be replaced with a combat capable type to carry out fast FAC duties.

So my question is, what aircraft do you people think the RAAF should purchase to fill this role? Personally I like the idea of more Hawks being purchased.

Hooroo.
G'day mate.

Operationally RAAF will use the F/A-18B/F for FAC duties I suspect.

A Hawk Mk 127 would require substantial upgrades including an EO/IR targetting pod, an EWSP system a data-link system and probably a more extensive communications and weapons suite than they currently possess, I daresay.

Plus the current fleet as I understand is at capacity with it's existing training role, meaning more Hawks would have to be purchased to cover this role anyway...

I don't think the Hawk is going to be a cheap option to cover this role...
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Old August 3rd, 2007   #51
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G'day mate.

Operationally RAAF will use the F/A-18B/F for FAC duties I suspect.

A Hawk Mk 127 would require substantial upgrades including an EO/IR targetting pod, an EWSP system a data-link system and probably a more extensive communications and weapons suite than they currently possess, I daresay.

Plus the current fleet as I understand is at capacity with it's existing training role, meaning more Hawks would have to be purchased to cover this role anyway...

I don't think the Hawk is going to be a cheap option to cover this role...
I agree that additional Hawks would certainly be needed if they were to be used in this role. Whilst they would not be a "cheap option" they would be cheaper than additional FA-18Fs.

How much life is left in the RAAF's 16 surviving FA-18Bs? These would seem a logical stepping stone to the FA-18F and should be available for the FAC role sooner, presuming that the Fs would only be used for FAC as a primary role after they are replaced by F-35As in the strike role.

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Old August 3rd, 2007   #52
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FA-18Fs could be transferred to this duty once (if) they are replaced by F-35As in the strike role but this will be at least ten years away and I suspect that the cost of buying additional SHs just for this role would be prohibitive.
Fast FAC is part of the FAC solution but they lack on target endurance of slower FAC aircraft.

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A strong candidate must also be any replacement (e.g. the PC-21) chosen to replace the PC-9 in the training role. As designed I believe that the PC-21 is unarmed but I see no reason why an Australian manufactured version could not be given a reasonable armament for the FAC role.
Not at all. Armament isn't the main issue but surviability. The PC-9/A used by FACDU is why FACDU is just a develpment unit and not deployable. The aircraft is completely unsafe for combat operations. The aircrew sit ontop of an oxygen bottle! A FAC aircraft based on a trainer like the AT-6B and the Super Tucano ALX have to be completely redesigned. The PC-21 doesn't have this redesign and would be as much a death trap in combat operations as the PC-9.

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If cost is not a problem I would choose the FA-18F. If funds are scarce I would favour the PC-21. On balance, though, I think the Hawk might prove suitable for the task and provide good value for money.
The Hawk would be an excellent FAC platform but you would have to integrate a FLIR pod onto it. The AT-6B will come with a FLIR and purpose designed for FAC.

In the future FAC will be less and less relevant. The whole point of FAC is to stop fast jets from flying into each other and the ground. UCAVs or self-flyign aircraft (like the F-35 and B-3) don't need this kind of support as the computer has no trouble understanding its spatial displacement from more than 1-2 other things.
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Old August 4th, 2007   #53
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Not at all. Armament isn't the main issue but surviability. The PC-9/A used by FACDU is why FACDU is just a develpment unit and not deployable. The aircraft is completely unsafe for combat operations. The aircrew sit ontop of an oxygen bottle! A FAC aircraft based on a trainer like the AT-6B and the Super Tucano ALX have to be completely redesigned. The PC-21 doesn't have this redesign and would be as much a death trap in combat operations as the PC-9.

The Hawk would be an excellent FAC platform but you would have to integrate a FLIR pod onto it. The AT-6B will come with a FLIR and purpose designed for FAC.
OK. Sounds like we definitely need to forget the PC-21 for this task as well as the existing PC-9s. The idea of flying low to the ground over enemy territory with an oxygen bottle and no armour beneath me doesn't appeal! It seems, from what you have said, that the AT-6B would be the most cost effective solution, particularly if combined with a T-6 order as a PC-9 replacement for training.

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Old August 5th, 2007   #54
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Super Hornets in USN service have been very effective in FAC roles. It is an NVG compatible jet, the very excellent ATFLIR, and several bags of gas. Loiter depends on the operation (range/threat), relief FAC aircraft to hand off, tanking etc.

How would you use the FAC is what is important. If it is CAS and you have a good GFAC(JTAC) on the ground, like what Australia and U.S. already have, then the dedicated flying FAC mission can be a bit less important at times.

Even in early OIF, the F Super with the non-recent super fancy back seat was very effective. In this case though it wasn't CAS so much as thinning the herd. In an operation where long before troops come into contact you have fast fixed wings kill off heavy equipment of large enemy ground formations: Platforms like U2, Globalhawk, JSTARS, ELINT/COMINT resources, find the location of large enemy formations and a fast FAC moves in to help create a hit list from what it can pick out with it's sensors: AFVs, other vehicles, arty, AAA, conspicuous logistics support points etc. Where in the OIF example some two seat Supers with just gas and the laser pod would have very long missions of orbiting high over large enemy land formations that were to be thinned out and reduced. They would collect a shopping list of target coordinates by snooping around and then a continuous freight train of other fixed wing strike aircraft with PGMs, Navy strikers, F-15, F-16, B-1, B-52 etc would waste little time in the target area. The Super FAC would hand each arriving striker a set of target coordinates, and the striker would have very little work to do, make their drop and head home and so on. There were some personal accounts from the poor slobs on the ground that had to eat all this. Your heavy equipment and friends being killed off and you don't have anything to hit back with. Any combat effectiveness the unit had takes a large gut check after a few days. People keep their distance from heavy equipment because they see it get destroyed.

So stating the obvious it depends on your perceived needs and how you want to kill things. Whether that has any relevance to ADF needs depends. However the Super F community if needed for this role, would be very effective. Even more so in coming years with the Block II and the Joint Helmet for the backseater.
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Old August 6th, 2007   #55
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All very interesting responses. Obviously the Super Hornet would make an ideal fast FAC platform, although I suspect it will be to expensive for Australia to add another 12 or so to the 24 we already have on order. It will be interesting to see how this pans out, will be a good gauge as to how serious the RAAF is about a fast FAC combat capability.

ELP's example of Super Hornets doing FAC during OIF reminded me of some Tomcats that were doing a similar duty in the north of Iraq. From memory I don't ever recall seeing them bombed up, only FLIR pods and some aim-9s. However they would not tell us exactly what they were doing They were from the Black Knights VF-154, can't remember what ship. One didn't come back one day, apparently they don't fly to well on an empty tank!!! That was the rumour at the time anyway.

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Old August 6th, 2007   #56
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3 Squadron ( Classic Hornets ) which has AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Googles has also dabbled supporting the traditional FAC people training with the Army according to an article in Air Combatv8/no.3- Holmes-Wizards Of Oz-p64, during an exercise out west while deployed to RAAF Pearce last year. How often they do that, and what their training schedule looks like I have no idea. Some others here would better know.

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Old August 6th, 2007   #57
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G'day all!

Been a while since my last post, had a fair bit of catching up to do!

A question straight up, is the T-6 being seriously considered as a PC-9 replacement? If so it sounds like a great cost efficient option for a FAC platform. It would be great to have some dedicated Supers for the role, but a fast jet in the role sounds, in some regards, to be overkill.

Just a thought!
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Old August 6th, 2007   #58
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3 Squadron ( Classic Hornets ) which has AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Googles has also dabbled supporting the traditional FAC people training with the Army according to an article in Air Combatv8/no.3- Holmes-Wizards Of Oz-p64, during an exercise out west while deployed to RAAF Pearce last year. How often they do that, and what their training schedule looks like I have no idea. Some others here would better know.
All RAAF Hornets have the capability to be used in a fast-FAC role. The FACDU unit not only trains Army JTAC personnel but also Hornet drivers to operate in a FAC scenario. The HUG 2.2/2.3/2.4 enhancements will only serve to increase this capability.

People keep talking about having aircraft solely dedicated to fast-FAC. In an air force the size of Australia's, we simply do not have the resources to do this, so our pilots and aircraft must be sufficiently multi-skilled to be able to perform fighter, strike, maritime and if necessary, fast-FAC equally well.

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Old August 6th, 2007   #59
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A question straight up, is the T-6 being seriously considered as a PC-9 replacement?
Yes, but the RAAF isn't looking solely at the aircraft themselves, but also at the possibility of a contractor supplied 'turn-key' training solution similar to that recently undertaken by Singapore with its Lockheed Martin/Pilatus/Hawker Pacific PC-21-based solution.

The T-6B will likely be offered, as will the PC-21, EMB-314, M-346 and maybe the Korean KT-1, but it will likely be just one element of a total overall solution encompassing a primary training platform, the advanced training aircraft, support, and local industry involvement.

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If so it sounds like a great cost efficient option for a FAC platform. It would be great to have some dedicated Supers for the role, but a fast jet in the role sounds, in some regards, to be overkill.
Again, as Agra said, due to the hazardous environment in which they operate, I doubt we'll see anything short of a Hawk or a Hornet employed in an operational FAC role.

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Old August 6th, 2007   #60
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Thanks Magoo.
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