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ADF General discussion thread

This is a discussion on ADF General discussion thread within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by Massive Whoever in Defence thought that the SP Artillery was going to get through at that price ...


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Old May 3rd, 2012   #16
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Originally Posted by Massive View Post
Whoever in Defence thought that the SP Artillery was going to get through at that price clearly did not think about or understand the political dimension. Even if it was the 'best' solution, the prices being bandied around for the limited number of units was never going to be announceable by any government.

Just an observation.

Massive
I think that one of the things that killed the SP program was the search for perfection instead of just buying the best available that we could afford several years ago. Now that we have a huge budget problem and a political commitment to a surplus the SP project was a standout target for the bean counters. The 2 year deferral of the next 12 F-35As is also hardly a surprise. The minister was also extremely cagey about any comment re the total of JSFs to be ordered down the track so it doesn't seem that 100 is still locked in. That decision will be made in the years ahead by the government of the day. The continued proposal to acquire 12 submarines does surprise me but the reality is that a future government will certainly not feel itself committed to that number any more than a future government will feel committed to 100 F-35s..


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Old May 3rd, 2012   #17
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Now we can all see that the FPR was just about addressing persistent squeaky wheels, giving something Defence or Government can point to whenever a flapping mouth says "You should do this/that."

Some of it was obvious:
Quote:
Originally Posted by FPR
(7) Defence should maintain a continually updated assessment of civil infrastructure and the available logistics capacity to support operations in
the North West in a range of contingencies.
Is there a capable military that doesn't do this in their primary area of operations?
Quote:
Originally Posted by FPR
(21) Defence should upgrade bases at Edinburgh, Learmonth, Pearce, Tindal
and Townsville to enable unrestricted operations by KC-30 and P-8 aircraft,
noting that Darwin already meets these criteria and Curtin is a lower priority
for upgrade.
So Edinburgh should be upgraded to support P-8 ops? No kidding? And Learmonth, Pearce, Tindal and Townsville, airfields which are frequented by RAAF MPA aircraft?
Noting also that the P-8 hasn't even been selected yet.

Some of it a bit premature:
Quote:
Originally Posted by FPR
(17) Defence should plan to upgrade or expand bases to accommodate the
OCV and replacement LCH, noting that scale and cost of work will depend on
the final size of the OCV and LCH, including:
c. upgrades or expansion of bases at Darwin and Cairns;
d. upgrades at HMAS Waterhen in Sydney; and
e. upgrades required at Fleet Base West to be able to support OCV mine
countermeasures operations.
(22) Defence should upgrade Curtin, Learmonth, Tindal and Townsville, with
Scherger as a lower priority, to support future combat aircraft operations.
Surely it "should" be done after Defence decides what capabilities it will acquire and surveys how this will impact base infrastructure/operations? Is there any need to upgrade the northern bases if the F-35 gets canned or the ADF goes mad and whips out the corporate credit card for some retail therapy Su-35s?

Some of it was a bit bemusing:
Quote:
Originally Posted by FPR
(14) Defence should commence planning now on long term options for
establishing a supplementary east coast fleet base at Brisbane for the Future
Submarine and large amphibious ships. This work will complement the
development of options for embarking forces on amphibious ships at
Brisbane in the shorter term, as set out in Recommendation 29.
(30) Defence should seek at least one additional training area capable of
supporting full-spectrum integrated joint/amphibious and combined
exercises, in all seasons, to address identified deficiencies and risks. These deficiencies and risks should also be mitigated through the continued development of Defence’s capacity to conduct simulated training.
(31) If acquiring a new training area proves impractical, then Defence should
significantly enhance at least one existing area (Bradshaw, Cultana and/or
Yampi Sound), accepting their constraints for large scale amphibious training
and that Bradshaw and Yampi Sound are inaccessible in the wet season.
FBNE? HMAS Moreton? Also: Now! Do it now, and do it in Brisbane!

Doesn't the expansion of Cultana count as the required additional training area? I thought that was the point?
Options would be limited for this new training area as well, given much of the contiguous sea, beach and land required for "all-season full-spectrum integrated joint/amphibious and combined exercises" is often populated, inappropriate, unsuitable or remote.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FPR
(32) Defence should explore options to enhance the Bradshaw and (as a lower
priority) Yampi Sound Training Areas, as part of arrangements for increased
foreign training in Australia.
Yampi Sound has been assessed as being unsuitable for any kind of manoeuvre or amphibious (above low level insertions) training. I'm not sure what Defence plans to do with it, and I think it was a mistake to purchase it in the first place. Did anyone do an assessment before purchase? I think someone in Canberra looked at a political map, saw a big space for tanks to kick up dust and soldiers to blow up stuff and they said "Buy it!"
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Old May 3rd, 2012   #18
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Yampi Sound has been assessed as being unsuitable for any kind of manoeuvre or amphibious (above low level insertions) training. I'm not sure what Defence plans to do with it, and I think it was a mistake to purchase it in the first place. Did anyone do an assessment before purchase? I think someone in Canberra looked at a political map, saw a big space for tanks to kick up dust and soldiers to blow up stuff and they said "Buy it!"
Yampi Sound is great for amphibious training. It is the one place in the world with the world’s most extreme tidal movements. In some places over 10m in water depth between low and high tide. If you can conduct amphibious landings there you can do it anywhere! It is kind of the exact opposite of using Cowley Beach for amphibious training, the world’s easiest beach to conduct amphibious training.

Strange that a force posture review needed to talk about capital upgrades that happen when new equipment is introduced anyway. But I guess they had to bulk it out after the Govt. saw the indicative costings for some of the hairbrained diversion of defence money to local pork barrelling like hardened airbases and Army units in the Pilbara.
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Old May 3rd, 2012   #19
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Yampi Sound

Yampi Sound is one of the most difficult places to co-ordinate anything as Abe has said. Tidal variation (max 13 mtrs on Springs) is brutal and because the general area consists of multiple small passages and steep rocky outcrops both above and below the water, the tidal streams can reach speeds of 10kts plus.
In an earlier life I spent some weeks in Yampi hosting a SAS boat squadron on Assail and most of the planned inserts were either cancelled or ended up needing to be rescued by the patrol boat.
Further, the LCH in company misjudged the timing of transits through some of the passages and ended up steaming at full speed and going backwards at 2 kts.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_bWS2sdD2U
I also ran a couple of pearl farms for 20 years both in Yampi and Talbot Bay (horizontal waterfall fame) and they were a constant PIA.
Onshore, the topography is a series of parallel steep rocky ridges made up of sharp, crumbly rock and the flies are legendry caused mainly by the sh*t from feral donkeys. By the way, its as hot as hell. Nothing mechanized here, its either grunts or rotary wing.
So, if you want to train in the most difficult scenarios available, this is the place.
The upside is that the scenery and wildlife, humpback whales, turles, crocs, barra, rays et al is absolutely stunning, I love it.
Get the picture?

Last edited by ASSAIL; May 3rd, 2012 at 08:00 AM. Reason: Addition Correct link
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Old May 3rd, 2012   #20
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Originally Posted by Massive View Post
Whoever in Defence thought that the SP Artillery was going to get through at that price clearly did not think about or understand the political dimension. Even if it was the 'best' solution, the prices being bandied around for the limited number of units was never going to be announceable by any government.

Just an observation.

Massive
I think it would be pretty hard to justify to the public (that's assuming they are even this closely interested in Defence issues) why we are spending around a billion dollars on just 18 SPHs, of which only 12 will be in actual combat units.
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Old May 3rd, 2012   #21
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land 17 spg

A couple of things.

Firstly I wonder how much taxpayer's $ have been wasted in the whole Land 17 SPG evaluation process?

Was the ADF stated (aspirational) requirement for an L52 AFATDS system the right way to go, given the existence of an L39 AFATDS system (Paladin) and the amount of funding allocated for the project?

How long would have an L39 SPG system remained relevant given that they would have been in service for some decades (presumably)?

Was the ADF ever offered (by a then fed government) an option to go L39 AFATDS SPG instead of L52?

I'm not impressed by the government's descision, however I suspect the blame isn't entirely theirs.
cheers
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Old May 3rd, 2012   #22
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Originally Posted by rossfrb_1 View Post
A couple of things.

Firstly I wonder how much taxpayer's $ have been wasted in the whole Land 17 SPG evaluation process?

Was the ADF stated (aspirational) requirement for an L52 AFATDS system the right way to go, given the existence of an L39 AFATDS system (Paladin) and the amount of funding allocated for the project?

How long would have an L39 SPG system remained relevant given that they would have been in service for some decades (presumably)?

Was the ADF ever offered (by a then fed government) an option to go L39 AFATDS SPG instead of L52?

I'm not impressed by the government's descision, however I suspect the blame isn't entirely theirs.
cheers
rb
Not all Government's but they can't escape the blame entirely.

All the Australian Army wanted, was for a contractor to develop a capability that doesn't exist anywhere in the world and isn't considered necessary by any other Army so that it could equip 2x batteries with 12 of these "wunder" weapons.

The whole notion was absolutely ludicrous. In it's way as ill-conceived as the Seasprite fiasco. Thankfully it never got as far through it's program expenditure as Seasprite did.

The LAND 40 grenade launcher project had all the same hallmarks as SPG. All we wanted was a new capability, far better than anything else in the world to satisfy a miniscule order at the same price as existing capability. Oh and of course we shan't be paying for the contractors to develop such a system. They'll have to do that at their own cost...

Funnily enough both programs fell over.

Why the hell we can't get a Defence Minister to just order Army and DMO to acquire M109A6 AFATDS, an updated Mk 19 40mm GLA and either the Puma or CV-90, the same radios and command and control system for each platform and just bloody well crack on with it, I'll never know.

Combined with the outstanding job done on the M113AS3/4 upgrade, early Bushmaster days, JP-129 TUAV, MRH-90 and Tiger issues, and the abortion that is LAND 121 Project Overlander, great confidence can be had in the upcoming LAND 400 project...

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Old May 3rd, 2012   #23
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I think it would be pretty hard to justify to the public (that's assuming they are even this closely interested in Defence issues) why we are spending around a billion dollars on just 18 SPHs, of which only 12 will be in actual combat units.
Why would you need to justify that? Its not remotely true. Land 17 Phase 1C's scope of work is far more than just buying 18 self propelled guns. The cost of the guns was a fraction of the program cost. Land 17 also included commercial provision of through life support from day 1 which was more than half of the overal cost of the project. Anyone who doesn't know this has no right expressing a public opinion on this project.
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Old May 3rd, 2012   #24
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snip

Why the hell we can't get a Defence Minister to just order Army and DMO to acquire M109A6 AFATDS, an updated Mk 19 40mm GLA and either the Puma or CV-90, the same radios and command and control system for each platform and just bloody well crack on with it, I'll never know.
You can hardly blame the current minister, he doesn't even want the job!
Although (anyone with any integrity) in that sort of position, knowing he probably wouldn't be in the role for any length of time and not caring if he made any friends in defence, he could easily have said 'dammit just buy MOTS'

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Combined with the outstanding job done on the M113AS3/4 upgrade, early Bushmaster days, JP-129 TUAV, MRH-90 and Tiger issues, and the abortion that is LAND 121 Project Overlander, great confidence can be had in the upcoming LAND 400 project...


Mmmm CV-90 Armadillo has been my favourite for a while.
Now if they could aspirationally think about the the CTA 40 (or even XM274 75mm CTA) to go with it...

If ADF were to ever acquire a 75mm cannon for its (future) AFVs, would there still be a valid role for the current 25mm? (ie run a fleet with a mixture of both)

cheers
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Old May 4th, 2012   #25
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Why would you need to justify that? Its not remotely true. Land 17 Phase 1C's scope of work is far more than just buying 18 self propelled guns. The cost of the guns was a fraction of the program cost. Land 17 also included commercial provision of through life support from day 1 which was more than half of the overal cost of the project. Anyone who doesn't know this has no right expressing a public opinion on this project.
Obviously although that's not what I meant, what I meant was are the public or the media going to care about life support costs? No they are going to get the overall program cost, average it out for the amount of guns we are buying and make their opinion based on that information.
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Old May 4th, 2012   #26
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You can hardly blame the current minister, he doesn't even want the job!
Although (anyone with any integrity) in that sort of position, knowing he probably wouldn't be in the role for any length of time and not caring if he made any friends in defence, he could easily have said 'dammit just buy MOTS'
Exactly and one with any sense would have said, "and what was wrong exactly with the M109A6's you trialled a few years back?" "Why the sudden need for 59cal barrels in these guns?" "Can't we just buy a couple of batteries worth of zero-lifed M109A6's with AFATDS in a similar fashion to the slightly less than state of the art spec, but still perfectly adequate zero-lifed M1A1 AIM tanks we bought?"

Quote:
Mmmm CV-90 Armadillo has been my favourite for a while.
Now if they could aspirationally think about the the CTA 40 (or even XM274 75mm CTA) to go with it...

If ADF were to ever acquire a 75mm cannon for its (future) AFVs, would there still be a valid role for the current 25mm? (ie run a fleet with a mixture of both)

cheers
rb
Probably. I think they'd still want a reasonably fast firing medium calibre gun system though. For that reason I doubt LAND 400 is looking beyond 25-40mm cannon / chain guns for it's future vehicle fleet.

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Old May 4th, 2012   #27
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Strange that a force posture review needed to talk about capital upgrades that happen when new equipment is introduced anyway. But I guess they had to bulk it out after the Govt. saw the indicative costings for some of the hairbrained diversion of defence money to local pork barrelling like hardened airbases and Army units in the Pilbara.
They'd have had kittens if they read any of Dr Kopp's analyses on the subject. He not only wants Iraq-style hardening for fighters but also wants HAS resistant to 1000lb bombs for the Wedgetails, C-17s and KC-30s. He seems to be able to use the many photos of blackened and blown apart Iraqi HAS and not see the fatal flaws in his argument.
Then he goes on to extol Chinese-style shelters built into the sides of hills. Excepting Learmonth (where they are 3-4km away), I don't think any of the other northern bases are near enough to hills to start digging holocaust-proof shelters.

Have you seen the plans he has for a new Cocos Island airfield? He's turned it into Fortress Cocos.

To be fair to the FPR, I'm not sure they intended the Iraq-style HAS when they talk about "physical hardening". It may be more along the lines of critical support infrastructure such as power, command, communications, munitions, fuel storage, etc. Because they are existing structures, such infrastructure is hard to disperse or camouflage at short notice to avoid attack. Although these structures are "hardened" at Tindal and the base bases, they are little more than concrete structures covered with soil, resistant to anything other than a direct hit. Not so tenable in a time of near universal PGMs.

I am in favour of a renewed emphasis on airfield repair capabilities, and dispersal and deception measures need not cost a great deal.

The passive vs. active defence of airfields is a complicated subject, but I favour flexible, mobile and upgradeable active defences.
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Old May 4th, 2012   #28
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Strange that a force posture review needed to talk about capital upgrades that happen when new equipment is introduced anyway. But I guess they had to bulk it out after the Govt. saw the indicative costings for some of the hairbrained diversion of defence money to local pork barrelling like hardened airbases and Army units in the Pilbara.
I noticed the advice that RAAF should acquire an additional 3x KC-30A's quietly disappeared between the "interim" FPR and the "full" FPR...
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Old May 4th, 2012   #29
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Have you seen the plans he has for a new Cocos Island airfield? He's turned it into Fortress Cocos.
No I haven't and I now have images in my mind of old school coast defence turrets and the like. Ever seen the concrete battleship? Fort Drum in the Philippines. Maybe APA can propose the concrete aircraft carrier for F-22s in the Cocos. And why stop there? We need Swiss Air Force style under mountain air bases for Heard and Macquarie Islands… Ball’s Pyramid could be converted into an ICBM base… The list is endless!

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I am in favour of a renewed emphasis on airfield repair capabilities, and dispersal and deception measures need not cost a great deal.

The passive vs. active defence of airfields is a complicated subject, but I favour flexible, mobile and upgradeable active defences.
Absolutely the RAAF should be funded for a squadron level airfield engineering capability able to construct, repair and provide passive defence for airfields. Being deployable they could do as needed to airfields in operational areas which are far more likely to be in South East Asia or the Middle East than North West Australia.
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Old May 5th, 2012   #30
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No I haven't and I now have images in my mind of old school coast defence turrets and the like. Ever seen the concrete battleship? Fort Drum in the Philippines. Maybe APA can propose the concrete aircraft carrier for F-22s in the Cocos. And why stop there? We need Swiss Air Force style under mountain air bases for Heard and Macquarie Islands… Ball’s Pyramid could be converted into an ICBM base… The list is endless!


Not quite as bad as that, but certainly Diego Garcia-lite but with combat hardening.
  1. New airfield to be constructed to the north of the existing airfield on the site of the former plantation,
    * 11,000ft runway with full length parallel taxiway (auxiliary runway) for heavy aircraft,
    * 44 fighter-sized HAS with angled taxiways leading onto the runways (see Talil AB image),
    * Hardened fuel and munitions storage for pre-positioned war stocks,
    * Hardened personnel accommodation,
  2. A new naval wharf off Direction Island (north of Home Island) where the water is deeper,
    * Full refuelling of vessels,
    * POL offloading to shore storage,
    * Roll on-Roll off facility for vehicles,
    * Possible covered wharf for covert submarine replenishment (thankfully he says "shed" rather than "concrete U-boat pens"),
  3. A road and elevated causeway to be built from the naval facility on Direction Island through Home Island and all the way around the lagoon to the airfield on the north of West Island,
    * Causeway to provide hardening for electrical, data and POL services.

Lip-service was given to how Indonesia might feel about a strike-orientated airfield 1000km from Jakarta. They weren't thrilled about rotating US Marines through the NT.
No thought about the logistics of defending the facilities, the infantry and supporting units that would be required, nor about what would happen if the extensive facilities were taken and used against Australia. Or is defending the islands supposed to be the job of the US?

I don't have an issue with upgrading Cocos Island airfield to support P-8/KC-30 ops, or even the construction of a new airfield on the former plantation site, but his vision of a hardened unsinkable FOB is a bit OTT.
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