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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; Thought I'd start a general RAAF thread, since many of the existing ones end up shifting back and forth despite ...


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Old March 12th, 2007   #1
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Royal Australian Air Force [RAAF] News, Discussions and Updates

Thought I'd start a general RAAF thread, since many of the existing ones end up shifting back and forth despite the initial start of the topic. That and I have a question that doesn't quite seem to pertain to any active thread at present.

Currently the Project Wedgetail (AIR 5077) for the E-737 is ongoing but behind 18+ months. Delivery from what I've last read is now expected in early 2010, although some are already in Australia. As part of the program, 4 were ordered, with options for three more. At present two of those options have been exercised. What I'm wondering is..
A. Will the third option be exercised?
B. When does Australia have until to decide?
C. What would the additional cost be if the option is exercised?
D. Do people think it would be a good idea to exercise the option?

Assuming there wouldn't be a significant spike in program cost exercising the third option, I think Australia should order the 7th Wedgetail. Having an additional AEW&C available could increase operational flexibility and decrease maintenance pressures by allowing more aircraft rotation. I would also assume that the purchase cost of one more, as part of a larger order would be less than a standalone order in the future. On the other hand, do people believe that six AEW&C will be sufficient for Australia's needs, in which case adding a seventh isn't necessary?

Interested to hear people's thoughts.

-Cheers
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Old March 12th, 2007   #2
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Thought I'd start a general RAAF thread, since many of the existing ones end up shifting back and forth despite the initial start of the topic. That and I have a question that doesn't quite seem to pertain to any active thread at present.

Currently the Project Wedgetail (AIR 5077) for the E-737 is ongoing but behind 18+ months. Delivery from what I've last read is now expected in early 2010, although some are already in Australia. As part of the program, 4 were ordered, with options for three more. At present two of those options have been exercised. What I'm wondering is..
A. Will the third option be exercised?
B. When does Australia have until to decide?
C. What would the additional cost be if the option is exercised?
D. Do people think it would be a good idea to exercise the option?

Assuming there wouldn't be a significant spike in program cost exercising the third option, I think Australia should order the 7th Wedgetail. Having an additional AEW&C available could increase operational flexibility and decrease maintenance pressures by allowing more aircraft rotation. I would also assume that the purchase cost of one more, as part of a larger order would be less than a standalone order in the future. On the other hand, do people believe that six AEW&C will be sufficient for Australia's needs, in which case adding a seventh isn't necessary?

Interested to hear people's thoughts.

-Cheers
I'd like to get the capability in-service before we worry about anymore of the type.

There already IS a thread about RAAF updates etc, but it hasn't been used for a while, so I'll probably close and we can continue here.

RAAF have ordered all the equipment, sub-systems etc for a 7th Wedgetail, we just need an airframe and of course, the modification work. Wedgetail is more like 2 years behind schedule, though I believe current estimates are for the first aircraft to be in-service by 2009, with IOC 2010/11...
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Old March 12th, 2007   #3
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Originally Posted by Todjaeger View Post
Thought I'd start a general RAAF thread, since many of the existing ones end up shifting back and forth despite the initial start of the topic. That and I have a question that doesn't quite seem to pertain to any active thread at present.

Currently the Project Wedgetail (AIR 5077) for the E-737 is ongoing but behind 18+ months. Delivery from what I've last read is now expected in early 2010, although some are already in Australia. As part of the program, 4 were ordered, with options for three more. At present two of those options have been exercised. What I'm wondering is..
A. Will the third option be exercised?
B. When does Australia have until to decide?
C. What would the additional cost be if the option is exercised?
D. Do people think it would be a good idea to exercise the option?

Assuming there wouldn't be a significant spike in program cost exercising the third option, I think Australia should order the 7th Wedgetail. Having an additional AEW&C available could increase operational flexibility and decrease maintenance pressures by allowing more aircraft rotation. I would also assume that the purchase cost of one more, as part of a larger order would be less than a standalone order in the future. On the other hand, do people believe that six AEW&C will be sufficient for Australia's needs, in which case adding a seventh isn't necessary?

Interested to hear people's thoughts.

-Cheers
Someone like Magoo will probably be able to respond to these questions with far more authority than me but I'll put in my 5 cents worth.

My understanding is that the RAAF identified a need for seven aircraft. The project was for an aircraft that would work in conjunction with over the horizon radar and provide surveillance over Australia's sea approaches and also overland. An initial order for four aircraft with an option for three more, based on the Boeing 737-700, was ordered from Boeing in 1999 with a contract signed in the following year. An additional two sets of the Northrop Grumman radar was also ordered. With the radar already paid for the government then took the sensible option of ordering two extra aircraft. My understanding is that the options expired around the time the two extra Wedgetails were ordered, but I stand to be corrected on this (and anything else I have said).

As the RAAF originally sought seven aircraft to fill the role I would certainly favour the extra Wedgetail being ordered, providing funding it wouldn't adversely affect other projects which the RAAF ranks more highly. Without a supplementary budget allocation I imagine that a seventh aircraft would affect other priorities, and having just found an extra $A6bn for the FA-18Fs I wouldn't be holding my breath for more.

Cheers

Edit

Having just read AD's post that we already have the gear for a seventh aircraft I think the RAAF could wait awhile before making a decision on this matter. It should be relatively easy to obtain another aircraft.

Last edited by Tasman; March 12th, 2007 at 06:21 AM. Reason: additional comment after reading AD's post
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Old March 12th, 2007   #4
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I'd like to get the capability in-service before we worry about anymore of the type.

There already IS a thread about RAAF updates etc, but it hasn't been used for a while, so I'll probably close and we can continue here.

RAAF have ordered all the equipment, sub-systems etc for a 7th Wedgetail, we just need an airframe and of course, the modification work. Wedgetail is more like 2 years behind schedule, though I believe current estimates are for the first aircraft to be in-service by 2009, with IOC 2010/11...
I definately understand wanting to get Wedgetail in-service before ordering more. That's part of the reason I'm interested in the cutoff date to exercise the option for the 7th aircraft. If the RAAF is able to wait until 2010 and still exercise the option, then there that works. If the contract specifies an earlier date like 2008 to exercise the option, then that's different. I've checked to see what info is available about the final option, but haven't found anything yet. Magoo, can you shed any light on this?

-Cheers
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Old June 6th, 2007   #5
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Just a question i had concerning JORN and how the RAAF will use it in its marritime strike doctorine, but i'm not shure if the person who is most able to answer is talking to me or not, but i'll try anyway.

I was wondering whether JORN gives the RAAF good enough data on surface threats, like a CBG for instance, to be used for AShM shots. I understand that JORN data is not especialy accurate as far as pin point position, but do AShM's need pin point targeting data to begin with? How exactly does JORN fit into the RAAF's marritime strike doctorine? Is it to be used as purely as an early warning platform, to cue other ISR platforms either airborn or submerged to get a more accurate data for an air strike or can it be used by itself? I know it exact resoloution would be classified for good reason but i was wondering if someone could shed some light on this question?
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Old June 6th, 2007   #6
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Just a question i had concerning JORN and how the RAAF will use it in its marritime strike doctorine, but i'm not shure if the person who is most able to answer is talking to me or not, but i'll try anyway.

I was wondering whether JORN gives the RAAF good enough data on surface threats, like a CBG for instance, to be used for AShM shots. I understand that JORN data is not especialy accurate as far as pin point position, but do AShM's need pin point targeting data to begin with? How exactly does JORN fit into the RAAF's marritime strike doctorine? Is it to be used as purely as an early warning platform, to cue other ISR platforms either airborn or submerged to get a more accurate data for an air strike or can it be used by itself? I know it exact resoloution would be classified for good reason but i was wondering if someone could shed some light on this question?
I understand JORN has excellent capability against both air and surface (maritime) targets.

As you guessed and from what I understand, it is not accurate enough to obtain targetting data for a weapon, thus relying on other assets to provide such.

As an early warning system though, it is apparently hard to beat...
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Old June 6th, 2007   #7
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But how exact does targeting data need to be for a AShM shot anyway. I know the Soviets didnt need up to the minet launchdata for their AShM's launches, data from a RORSAT and a big buldge radar on a bear a hour or two before would do it. I know that was with high altitude AShM's but does harpoon/JSM/JASSM really need up to the minet/meter target data. if the soviets could do it with hours old tracks why cant we use JORN????
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Old June 6th, 2007   #8
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But how exact does targeting data need to be for a AShM shot anyway. I know the Soviets didnt need up to the minet launchdata for their AShM's launches, data from a RORSAT and a big buldge radar on a bear a hour or two before would do it. I know that was with high altitude AShM's but does harpoon/JSM/JASSM really need up to the minet/meter target data. if the soviets could do it with hours old tracks why cant we use JORN????
I would expect that actual details to be unavailable to most and classified for those actually in the know. From what I understand, what JORN does is indicate that there is a target (radar return from) a given grid area. That grid area could well be a total of 400 sq km (numbers could be wildly off ) and I'm uncertain if JORN can also indicate the size of the target or how will it can track heading & speed. Basically as AD mentioned, it provides great early warning but identifying when things are in an area, but other systems are needed to determine what is there, and exactly where it is.

Now, if an AShM (or many) could be sent with seekers sufficient to search whatever area of innaccuracy JORN has, that could be a workable tactic. It depends on how large an innaccuracy JORN has. I believe the Soviet system was expected to work because the information was very accurate, while being two hours or so old. Then targeting data could take into account heading, etc and extrapolate where the intended target is in two hours, etc. Such assumptions might not work with JORN.

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Old June 7th, 2007   #9
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The real trick about JORN is that I suspect it can detect BM missile launches on the SEA continent (i.e. China). This through the alterations in the ionosphere from the depletion of ions from the exhaust plumes. As few direct methods of these kinds of measurements exist for that region, it could very well explain the U.S. interest in JORN as part of the BMD.

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Old June 7th, 2007   #10
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Bet you wouldn't get anyone to admit that though, but I think you could be right.
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Old June 7th, 2007   #11
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Bet you wouldn't get anyone to admit that though, but I think you could be right.
Yup. It's better kept unconfirmed for both operational reasons and, as we have seen with the U.S. BMD in Europe, for the political implications.

China is a partner to the U.S. and Australia after all.
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Old June 7th, 2007   #12
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I would expect that actual details to be unavailable to most and classified for those actually in the know. From what I understand, what JORN does is indicate that there is a target (radar return from) a given grid area. That grid area could well be a total of 400 sq km (numbers could be wildly off ) and I'm uncertain if JORN can also indicate the size of the target or how will it can track heading & speed. Basically as AD mentioned, it provides great early warning but identifying when things are in an area, but other systems are needed to determine what is there, and exactly where it is.

Now, if an AShM (or many) could be sent with seekers sufficient to search whatever area of innaccuracy JORN has, that could be a workable tactic. It depends on how large an innaccuracy JORN has. I believe the Soviet system was expected to work because the information was very accurate, while being two hours or so old. Then targeting data could take into account heading, etc and extrapolate where the intended target is in two hours, etc. Such assumptions might not work with JORN.

-Cheers
In the late 80's (even with the early software) we were able to track a landrover sized test vehicle driving across the Kimberleys.
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Old June 7th, 2007   #13
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In the late 80's (even with the early software) we were able to track a landrover sized test vehicle driving across the Kimberleys.
So this would have some large implications for maritime strike doctorine no? GF your the guy who is most likely to know around here.... can you use JORN data to cue a AShM shot???????
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Old June 8th, 2007   #14
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While awaiting GF's answer...

I've heard JORN depends on conditions around us. So in favourable conditions it would be reasonably accurate. As GF said, it was highly capable before the huge and expensive upgrades.

As JORN is being tied into the missile shield, it will be further enhanced with satellites and other assets to greatly enhance its capabilities.

There was a claim in an article about JORN being being good enough to accurately direct airtraffic around dili, showing position, heading and airspeed with all the information being sent to Canberra and shown on a large screen. Can it do the same with B-2's in Texas? I don't know, possibly? JORN seems to have superhuman reach, and the US interest in it shows its got to be god like in some repects for them to show such an interest. You don't want an unreliable sensor in that network, causing you to launch missiles against nuclear powers in the region.

Judging from my experience with radio telescopes, processing all the data is one of the biggest issues. If you want real time capability not hours,days or weeks later capability, there is a lot you can do with the data to enhance accuracy. It looks like they have that real time capability with the latest hardware and software upgrades.
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Old June 8th, 2007   #15
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can you use JORN data to cue a AShM shot???????
at this point in time - as a discrete organic function - no. note my phrasing
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