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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; Originally Posted by weasel1962 Is there a need? The C-130 takes over LAPES missions. Transport is supplemented by the MRTTs. ...


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Old June 11th, 2008   #1201
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Originally Posted by weasel1962 View Post
Is there a need?

The C-130 takes over LAPES missions. Transport is supplemented by the MRTTs.
Every MRTT can carry more than 10 DHC-4 load. MRH-90s for shorter ranged and humanitarian missions from the new Canberra LHDs. let's not forget the C-17s.

The way I see it, the RAAF might just retire the lot and focus on C-130 replacement. Don't really see a need for caribou replacements.
As I see it, RAAF's Caribou's and C-130H's are stuffed.

RAAF requires additional airlift to be capable of meeting it's concurrent deployment requirements AND it requires new aircraft to replace existing capability.

It currently operates brand new C-17's and fairly new (less then 10 years old) C-130J-30's.

The options therefore are:

1. Retire the DHC-4 Caribous and C-130H without replacement (The C-17 is technically the replacement of the C-130H capability anyway and Chinooks can conduct the majority of DHC-4 missions, albeit at a higher cost).

2. Extend the life of the C-130H and DHC-4 through SLEP type programs and retain them in-service.

3. Buy additional C-130J's or C-130J-30's to replace C-130H and "make do" with existing helicopter resources to replace the DHC-4 capability or provide DHC-4 with a SLEP.

4. Buy additional C-17's to replace C-130H on a closer "one for one" basis.

5. Buy a new aircraft type (such as A400m or C-27J) to replace C-130H capability on something close to a "one for one" basis.

6. Buy a new aircraft (such as C-27J, C-235/295M, CH-47D/F Chinook or additional MRH-90) to replace DHC-4 capability on something close to a "one for one" basis.

7. Buy a new aircraft to replace C-130H, C-130J-30, DHC-4 fleets to allow for standardisation amongst a disparate aircraft fleet. (A C-27J Spartan for instance is rated as possessing somewhere in the vicinity of 85% of the capability of a C-130 Hercules).

My personal preferrence therefore would be to acquire additional C-17 aircraft to replace overall C-130 capability. An addition of 4-8 aircraft would provide an overall fleet of C-17 aircraft which would halve the current C-130 fleet in numbers, yet provide a significant boost in overall airlift capability (1x C-17 provides roughly 4x times the capability of a C-130H) and reduce the number of aircraft types in-service.

Our fleet of 12x C-130J aircraft, being quite new, should attract a reasonable price on the market, or on sale back to the manufacturer.

Combined with a C-27 acquisition to replace DHC-4 and "lower end" C-130 taskings this would allow for a flexible "hi lo" airlift fleet, expecially with new A330 MRTT "strategic airlift" (hi end) and additional CH-47D/F "Chinook" ("lo end") capability coming online in a few short years...
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Old June 11th, 2008   #1202
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AD, your satire takes the cake. You forgot that the Congress has not yet voted to sell the Raptor to Australia anyway. The Obey amendment passed wasn't even close the last time, some 338-89 in the full House.
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Old June 11th, 2008   #1203
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As I see it, RAAF's Caribou's and C-130H's are stuffed.

RAAF requires additional airlift to be capable of meeting it's concurrent deployment requirements AND it requires new aircraft to replace existing capability.

It currently operates brand new C-17's and fairly new (less then 10 years old) C-130J-30's.

The options therefore are:

1. Retire the DHC-4 Caribous and C-130H without replacement (The C-17 is technically the replacement of the C-130H capability anyway and Chinooks can conduct the majority of DHC-4 missions, albeit at a higher cost).

2. Extend the life of the C-130H and DHC-4 through SLEP type programs and retain them in-service.

3. Buy additional C-130J's or C-130J-30's to replace C-130H and "make do" with existing helicopter resources to replace the DHC-4 capability or provide DHC-4 with a SLEP.

4. Buy additional C-17's to replace C-130H on a closer "one for one" basis.

5. Buy a new aircraft type (such as A400m or C-27J) to replace C-130H capability on something close to a "one for one" basis.

6. Buy a new aircraft (such as C-27J, C-235/295M, CH-47D/F Chinook or additional MRH-90) to replace DHC-4 capability on something close to a "one for one" basis.

7. Buy a new aircraft to replace C-130H, C-130J-30, DHC-4 fleets to allow for standardisation amongst a disparate aircraft fleet. (A C-27J Spartan for instance is rated as possessing somewhere in the vicinity of 85% of the capability of a C-130 Hercules).

My personal preferrence therefore would be to acquire additional C-17 aircraft to replace overall C-130 capability. An addition of 4-8 aircraft would provide an overall fleet of C-17 aircraft which would halve the current C-130 fleet in numbers, yet provide a significant boost in overall airlift capability (1x C-17 provides roughly 4x times the capability of a C-130H) and reduce the number of aircraft types in-service.

Our fleet of 12x C-130J aircraft, being quite new, should attract a reasonable price on the market, or on sale back to the manufacturer.

Combined with a C-27 acquisition to replace DHC-4 and "lower end" C-130 taskings this would allow for a flexible "hi lo" airlift fleet, expecially with new A330 MRTT "strategic airlift" (hi end) and additional CH-47D/F "Chinook" ("lo end") capability coming online in a few short years...
My money's on...

1) C-27J FINALLY being selected to replace Caribou - decision in early 09, service entry 2012, 14-16 aircraft. As AD says, C-27J gives alot of bang for the buck - cheaper to acquire and operate than a Herc and not much less capable. Far more capable than a Bou expect on wet and rough strips (but what can a Bou carry into and out of such strips anyway?). The Caribous MUST be gone by 2013 as they have major hydraulic and electrical issues falling due by then.

2) C-130H being retained until 2014. Operational fleet of eight kept going from a pool of 12 aircraft, upgraded with DIRCM Light.

3) 12-16 A400Ms being acquired to replace C-130H and C-130J from 2014 to 2018 (C-130Js will be 20 years old by then). The A400M can get into any strip a C-130 can, but is 3 x a C-27J, 2 x a Herc, and 1/2 x a C-17 - it's a nice fit.

4) Additional three CH-47Fs to be confirmed early next year along with three more. CH-47Ds to go through CH-47F reman process.

5) Whether an additional C-17 or two is acquired is probably 50:50 at the moment, however I suspect that political window may have closed.

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Old June 11th, 2008   #1204
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Quite feasible

Here are the current numbers of lift aircraft (from the defence white paper discussion document

Lift Aircraft
  • C-17 Globemaster - 4
  • B-737 BBJ - 2
  • C-130H - 12
  • C-130J - 12
  • CL-604 -3
  • DHC-4 - 14

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1) C-27J FINALLY being selected to replace Caribou - decision in early 09, service entry 2012, 14-16 aircraft. As AD says, C-27J gives alot of bang for the buck - cheaper to acquire and operate than a Herc and not much less capable. Far more capable than a Bou expect on wet and rough strips (but what can a Bou carry into and out of such strips anyway?). The Caribous MUST be gone by 2013 as they have major hydraulic and electrical issues falling due by then.

2) C-130H being retained until 2014. Operational fleet of eight kept going from a pool of 12 aircraft, upgraded with DIRCM Light.

3) 12-16 A400Ms being acquired to replace C-130H and C-130J from 2014 to 2018 (C-130Js will be 20 years old by then). The A400M can get into any strip a C-130 can, but is 3 x a C-27J, 2 x a Herc, and 1/2 x a C-17 - it's a nice fit.

4) Additional three CH-47Fs to be confirmed early next year along with three more. CH-47Ds to go through CH-47F reman process.

5) Whether an additional C-17 or two is acquired is probably 50:50 at the moment, however I suspect that political window may have closed.
I pretty much agree with your esitimate.

The one area I disagree with is the number of A400Ms; I think there will be eventually a 1-1 replacement for the C-130H and C130J; most likely in two batches

I think additional C-17 would be preferred, but the additional lift capability of the C-27J and A400M over the DHC-4 and C-130J/H will be deemed sufficient.

The timelines are very realistic.
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Old June 11th, 2008   #1205
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AD, your satire takes the cake. You forgot that the Congress has not yet voted to sell the Raptor to Australia anyway. The Obey amendment passed wasn't even close the last time, some 338-89 in the full House.
We were dispensing with reality, remember...
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Old June 12th, 2008   #1206
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The one area I disagree with is the number of A400Ms; I think there will be eventually a 1-1 replacement for the C-130H and C130J; most likely in two batches
I'd have strong doubts on a 1 to 1. The climate is not positive for major procurement - and not platform to platform replacement as the view is an efficiency of capability for a platform type. Thats not 1 to 1 by any means
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Old June 12th, 2008   #1207
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Old June 12th, 2008   #1208
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AD, its not ABCA but ASCC wrt F-22.
No, he's correct when he refers to ABCA. In actual fact it's beyond ABCA but thats academic in light of the point he's trying to make. It's inapprop though to discuss the level beyond the ABCA relationship in a public forum.
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Old June 12th, 2008   #1209
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Quite feasible

Here are the current numbers of lift aircraft (from the defence white paper discussion document

Lift Aircraft
  • C-17 Globemaster - 4
  • B-737 BBJ - 2
  • C-130H - 12
  • C-130J - 12
  • CL-604 -3
  • DHC-4 - 14
Interesting article I read recently, the 737 BBJ's are to small to adequately carry the entourage of the PM or a Minister, I suppose this will be discussed in the white paper, Imagine the RAAF with its own 747 Air Force One .
Maybe dual role them with the 20 747 Tankers AD mentioned

Though I am sure it will be more along the lines of 777's or its Airbus equivalent. Any one hear any thing else about this?

Here is the article which I don't think was posted here:
ADF Chief Backs Push for Larger VIP jets.

Also while looking for the article here is a fresh article:
Early Warning System Delayed.
Hmm hopefully thats the delivery date set now, they will arrive with the SH how nice.
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Old June 12th, 2008   #1210
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I have heard a rumour that the C130Hs may be donated to another airforce to our North or at least its an option being discussed.
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Old June 12th, 2008   #1211
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I'd have strong doubts on a 1 to 1. The climate is not positive for major procurement - and not platform to platform replacement as the view is an efficiency of capability for a platform type. Thats not 1 to 1 by any means

My thoughts on a 1-1 replacement of the A400M to C-130H/J are that the additional lift capability would be instead of purchasing additional C-17s.

But it will all depend on the strategic review which is underway and the projected air lift needs of the ADF.

It is interesting to note that by the time these aircraft would be in service, one of the Canberra class LHD will likely be in service (with the other under construction), will that have an impact on the ADF's strategic airlift requirements?
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Old June 12th, 2008   #1212
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The only way i see Australia buying A400's would be due to poor planning and underestimating our strategic airlift requirement. Buying a couple extra C-17's now would completely eliminate any chance of the A400 entering the RAAF.

6 C-17's - strategic airlift
24 C-27J's - tactical airlift
48 MRH-90's - front line airlift

Thats all we need for airlift IMO. No need to operate half a dozen types.

My line of thinking is as follows:

1) Six C-17's transport 30 tonne each over long distance every 24 hours. Reducing payload for extra strategic range. Thats 180 tonne for 6 aircraft which then arrives in theatre.

2) That 180 tonne of payload is then transferred into the 24 C-27J's. 7,500kg per aircraft. The freight is then airlifted to the front line with the excellent STOL performance of the C-27J.

3) That 180 tonne of payload arrives at the front line. 90 tonne has to now be delivered to the combat zones using the 48 MRH-90's. Thats 1,875kg per helicopter.

As the tactical and helicopter airlift missions would be much shorter in duration than the strategic flights it will free up a few C-27J's and a lot of MRH-90's for other duties.

Retire the C-130H's, Caribou's now and fly the Chinooks and C-130J's double time to make up for any reduction. By 2015 the Chinook and C-130J's would be getting tired due to their workload. They can then be replaced by C-27J's which would be well into production (cheap).

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Aussie Digger 7. Buy a new aircraft to replace C-130H, C-130J-30, DHC-4 fleets to allow for standardisation amongst a disparate aircraft fleet. (A C-27J Spartan for instance is rated as possessing somewhere in the vicinity of 85% of the capability of a C-130 Hercules).
Thats pretty similar to the option i think will be taken.
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Old June 12th, 2008   #1213
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The only way i see Australia buying A400's would be due to poor planning and underestimating our strategic airlift requirement. Buying a couple extra C-17's now would completely eliminate any chance of the A400 entering the RAAF.

6 C-17's - strategic airlift
24 C-27J's - tactical airlift
48 MRH-90's - front line airlift

Thats all we need for airlift IMO. No need to operate half a dozen types.

My line of thinking is as follows:

1) Six C-17's transport 30 tonne each over long distance every 24 hours. Reducing payload for extra strategic range. Thats 180 tonne for 6 aircraft which then arrives in theatre.

2) That 180 tonne of payload is then transferred into the 24 C-27J's. 7,500kg per aircraft. The freight is then airlifted to the front line with the excellent STOL performance of the C-27J.

3) That 180 tonne of payload arrives at the front line. 90 tonne has to now be delivered to the combat zones using the 48 MRH-90's. Thats 1,875kg per helicopter.

As the tactical and helicopter airlift missions would be much shorter in duration than the strategic flights it will free up a few C-27J's and a lot of MRH-90's for other duties.

Retire the C-130H's, Caribou's now and fly the Chinooks and C-130J's double time to make up for any reduction. By 2015 the Chinook and C-130J's would be getting tired due to their workload. They can then be replaced by C-27J's which would be well into production (cheap).


Thats pretty similar to the option i think will be taken.
You have completely lost me as to why you would ditch the Chooks. The MRH-90 is medium troop lift (accepting that some of this will be on the LHD) which is not ia abundent supply. The chooks provide heavy vertical lift (last time I looked the c-27 could not do this) and can take large loads even the MRH-90 cannot. I would suggest the current deployment of CH-47 to the ME is indicative of their usefulness.
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Old June 13th, 2008   #1214
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You have completely lost me as to why you would ditch the Chooks. The MRH-90 is medium troop lift (accepting that some of this will be on the LHD) which is not ia abundent supply. The chooks provide heavy vertical lift (last time I looked the c-27 could not do this) and can take large loads even the MRH-90 cannot. I would suggest the current deployment of CH-47 to the ME is indicative of their usefulness.
Excessive overlap in my opinion.

Last time i looked the Chinook could not carry 8,000kg's at 500km/h to a distance of 2,000kms

The Chinook has high maintenance and running costs. Two MRH-90's can carry the same load as a single Chinook over the same distance.

The only capability you will loose is the ability to carry a single heavy object that cannot be split between two MRH-90's.

CH-47's may be useful at carrying a heavy load to the front line where a C-130 is too big to land. If you had C-27J's with their superior STOL performance they may be able to land at some of these places effectively reducing the requirement of the Chinook. Any scraps can be picked up by an MRH-90.

Eventually you reach the point where you have excessive overlap. You may as well reduce the number of aircraft types being operated which would reduce the supply chain and overall maintenance costs. This money saved could allow for a larger total number of aircraft to be purchased giving an improved overall capability.

To give an exaggerated fighter aircraft example, you could operate:

One F-35, one Eurofighter, one Rafale, one Gripen and one Super Hornet. Five aircraft in total with excessive overlap. However the running costs of operating so many aircraft in so few numbers would be extremely high. You could buy and operate 10 F-35's for the same money. Buying in bulk gives a discount.

Our airlift at the moment is nearly as bad as that fighter aircraft example

Blackhawk
MRH-90
Caribou
Chinook
C-130H
C-130J
C-17
A330 MRTT
Future C-27J?


You cannot get any more simplified than a Light (MRH-90), medium (C-27J), heavy airlift(C-17)

Of course my suggestion is only a suggestion, you could go with four aircraft types and still be more efficient.

Ultralight - MRH-90
Light - CH-47 Chinook
Medium - C-130
Heavy - C-17

If you go with the Chinook theres enough overlap between it and the C-27J that you may as well stick with the C-130. You no longer need the excellent STOL performance of the C-27J if you keep the Chinooks so may as well go with the larger C-130.

I hope this explains my mindset for the original suggestion.
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Old June 13th, 2008   #1215
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"Two MRH 90's can carry the same load as a single Chinook"

I can recall a similar statement being made by Kim Beazley when he retired the first RAAF Chinook Squadron way back when. Apparently two Blackhawks could do the same job as a Chook.

The Chinooks sat in a hangar at Amberley and the army boys would occasionally poke their noses in and wonder why.

Two helicopters flying separate missions cannot do the job of a singe heavy-lift machine. There are loads that cannot be broken down and there are many occasions when you need one single bit of big stuff to arrive rather rapidly.

Army soon realised the mistake and the Chinooks were traded in, upgraded and re-introduced, sadly not in the same numbers.

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