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Royal Australian Navy Discussions and Updates

This is a discussion on Royal Australian Navy Discussions and Updates within the Navy & Maritime forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by Aussie Digger RAN doesn't operate Scan Eagles. Boeing operates Scan Eagles on behalf of deployed ADF forces, ...


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Old April 19th, 2009   #2056
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Originally Posted by Aussie Digger View Post
RAN doesn't operate Scan Eagles.

Boeing operates Scan Eagles on behalf of deployed ADF forces, but only Land forces in Iraq (formerly) and now in Afghanistan.

RAN does not yet maintain a UAV capability, to the best of my knowledge.

Are you sure about that.......? Doesn't 20STA use them?

Brett.
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Old April 19th, 2009   #2057
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In my order:
* 4th AWD - We need this
* Sealift ships 1 x 40,000t slightly modified commerical RoRo
* 1 x 10,000 OPV with additional sealift capability.
* Announcement and clear direction on Collins II (6-8 subs) and ANZAC replacement (using tweaked F-100 design 10)
* An amphibious/ aircraft carrier (simular to the Cavour) With 18 F-35 B's. The other two LHD can operate as temp carriers, and the new ship can also assist and fill in as an additional amphibious ship
* some decent landing craft for the LHD's
* Tomahawks (x16) for the AWD's, SM-3 Capable systems (missiles can be aquired later).
* Additional helicopters including sea search NH-90
* decent UAV (something bigger rather than smaller).
* Additional patrol boats

Australia could make a very nice taskforce from that:

2 x AWD's, 2 x Frigates, 1 or 2 LHD's, 1 carrier with 6-10 F-35B's, 3x tigers and several UAV's, 1 sealift roro, 1 fleet oiler, with several subs scattered regionally. Combined with NZ(frigate), Singapore (LHA and frigate), American (cruiser and perhaps a sub) and japanese (destroyer and LHA) escorts your talking about a force that would match or be greater than a RN or US amphibious group.

Land 2,000 troops and heavy equipment. Give air lift and transport. Patrol extensively and enforce in the area of operation, be able to fend off and conduct high intensity operations. Provide air coverage for the area of operation and air support for troops. And sustain this for a long period of time.

If things heat up additional american support (say an amphibious strike group or a Carrier strike group) or british support (a carrier or/and a amphibious strike group) you have a very capable force.

This is a huge leap in capability, we are now able to do what the RN could do before (amphibious assault), while the RN is leaping forward to do only what the USN could do before (naval airstrikes).
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Old April 20th, 2009   #2058
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Singapore doesn't operate ScanEagle, it was a Boeing Australia trial :



SINGAPORE, March 02, 2009 -- ScanEagle, a long-endurance, fully autonomous unmanned aircraft system (UAS) developed by The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and subsidiary Insitu, today successfully completed a ship-based trial with the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).
The trial included both an RSN LST (Landing Ship, Tank) and a frigate. ScanEagle was launched and recovered from the ships' helicopter decks, flying day missions using an electro-optical camera payload and night missions using an infrared camera payload.
During the flights, the ScanEagle UAS successfully demonstrated sea-based launch and recovery capabilities and the ease with which the physical ground support equipment and control hardware can be integrated onboard. All tactical objectives and operational scenarios set for the flights were achieved.
"ScanEagle performed exceptionally well during the trials and proved it has the potential to be an asset for building the RSN's organic ship-based unmanned aerial vehicle capability," said Andrew Duggan, ScanEagle program manager for Boeing Defence Australia. "The ScanEagle UAS adds another dimension to persistent situational awareness for the ship's crew and generates actionable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information."
Boeing Defence Australia provided a complete maritime ScanEagle system for the trial, including a ground control station, communication links, launcher and SkyHook recovery system. A Boeing Insitu team deployed to Singapore for the entire trial.
The ScanEagle UAS has operated from a variety of maritime platforms, most notably U.S. Navy ships since 2005, achieving 1,500 launches and recoveries. It has also operated from a UK Royal Navy Type 23 frigate and from commercial vessels.
Boeing Defence Australia began operating ScanEagle in December 2006. Since then, it has surpassed 16,000 flight hours supporting Australian Land Forces overseas as well as delivering in-country operator and field maintainer training.





http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/...90302a_nr.html
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Old April 20th, 2009   #2059
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Are you sure about that.......? Doesn't 20STA use them?

Brett.
20STA has no UAVs issued to the best of my knowledge.

The only UAVs issued to an ADF unit are possibly to the specwarries and these will most likely be limited to "micro" UAVs and in any case, they aren't telling...

20STA operators have deployed to the "Ghan", Iraq and Solomans and have worked with civilian operated and maintained UAVs leased directly from the manufacturers, including Scan Eagle and Skylark.

So ADF and 20STA have access to some UAV capability on operations, but no UAV has actually been acquired, for the conventional ADF as yet.
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Old April 20th, 2009   #2060
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Defence white paper

Given the current climate we are in i believe the Aus Government should look to acquire a more flexible stratergy for its naval foreces. I would hope they would invest in:
2 x LHD: Primarily as amphibious ships but with the capcity to have VTOL or STOVL F-35B's in number upto but no more than 20. This allows us to conduct operations with an offensive strike capability, conduct sea denial operations and to conduct humanitarian operations. I do not see it neccersary to always have the full 15 - 20 fighters embarked on the LHD's but only when called for. The RAN has seen its resources stretched in the current years with deployments in South east pacific countries increasingly becoming a problem, meaning the two LHD's would always ben in need.

4 x AWD's: The DDG's are vital to providing an air umbrella for RAN assets(2x LHD) in a hostile enviroment and are needed to meet current and future threate of the future from developing navies.

8 x ANZAC's: I believe these ships are primarily used for escort duties in conflict due to their limited Anti-air capability but could be used effectively if under the umbrella of an AWD type ship. They are very useful however in their current use for boarder/fisheries patrol and suit that requirement.

6 - 8 Collins Class II: Although it has been said that the only weapons platform the US see's useful to its self from Aus in any future war is our current Collins class subs, it doesn't make sense to field a large sub force when we can't man the 6 we have now and alot of Aus navy's time is spent in humanitarian assistance, south east pacific countries which subs are virtually useless. Why purchase large numbers of a tool that might never see use when you can spend more on tools ie LHD's, AWD's, FFG's that serve multiple purposes.

2 x Fast LPD's: Similar to the fast Seacat we had during the timor operation, a seacat platform would be handy to supplement the LHD's and for operations in the south pacific and would enable the RAN to deploy a force similar to a US MEU, giving the RAN a quick reaction force which would be ideal in our area.

The RAN must increase in size and its ability to deploy in force and numbers in the South east pacific (our general area of concern) and also must have the capacity to deploy to future conflicts abroad to protect allies and areas of interest.
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Old April 20th, 2009   #2061
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20STA operators have deployed to the "Ghan", Iraq and Solomans and have worked with civilian operated and maintained UAVs leased directly from the manufacturers, including Scan Eagle and Skylark.
The 'flock' of Elbit Skylarks are Commonwealth owned and fully operated (up to 1st line maintenance) by 20 STA Regt. There have been two additional orders of Skylaks with six systems (18 UAVs) provided in the first order. Additional systems (GCS) have been acquired though the number remains classified and there would have been several losses of UAVs. The Scan Eagles are owned by Boeing and provided operational to the Army but 20 STA Regt now provide most of the operational control (originally Boeing provided the 'pilots').
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Old April 20th, 2009   #2062
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Given the current climate we are in i believe the Aus Government should look to acquire a more flexible stratergy for its naval foreces. I would hope they would invest in:
2 x LHD: Primarily as amphibious ships but with the capcity to have VTOL or STOVL F-35B's in number upto but no more than 20. This allows us to conduct operations with an offensive strike capability, conduct sea denial operations and to conduct humanitarian operations. I do not see it neccersary to always have the full 15 - 20 fighters embarked on the LHD's but only when called for. The RAN has seen its resources stretched in the current years with deployments in South east pacific countries increasingly becoming a problem, meaning the two LHD's would always ben in need.
The Canberra Class SPS we have chosen will never carry and operate 20x STOVl/VTOL fighters even in a "combat overload" situation.

We have chosen 2 of these ships, but to think of them carrying 20x fighter aircraft and still being capable of amphibious operations is to fail to understand exactly how these ships are designed, what they are designed for and exactly how much effort is required to support an entire squadron of strike fighter aircraft at sea.

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4 x AWD's: The DDG's are vital to providing an air umbrella for RAN assets(2x LHD) in a hostile enviroment and are needed to meet current and future threate of the future from developing navies.

8 x ANZAC's: I believe these ships are primarily used for escort duties in conflict due to their limited Anti-air capability but could be used effectively if under the umbrella of an AWD type ship. They are very useful however in their current use for boarder/fisheries patrol and suit that requirement.
I "hope" so too, but in reality, I don't see it happening. If it were ever going to happen, the chance passed in November 2007 I'm afraid, with the change of Government...

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6 - 8 Collins Class II: Although it has been said that the only weapons platform the US see's useful to its self from Aus in any future war is our current Collins class subs, it doesn't make sense to field a large sub force when we can't man the 6 we have now and alot of Aus navy's time is spent in humanitarian assistance, south east pacific countries which subs are virtually useless. Why purchase large numbers of a tool that might never see use when you can spend more on tools ie LHD's, AWD's, FFG's that serve multiple purposes.
This assumes that our Navy manning can't improve, when recruiting has improved over the last few years and retention rates have improved at the same time, as outlined in our Defence Annual reports.

They need to continue to do so, yes, but Navy has released a pretty comprehensive plan to help do so in recent weeks.

Economic conditions are more conducive at present too...

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2 x Fast LPD's: Similar to the fast Seacat we had during the timor operation, a seacat platform would be handy to supplement the LHD's and for operations in the south pacific and would enable the RAN to deploy a force similar to a US MEU, giving the RAN a quick reaction force which would be ideal in our area.
C-17's give us this capability too. If we need this fast force, I'd rather additional C-17 capability.

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The RAN must increase in size and its ability to deploy in force and numbers in the South east pacific (our general area of concern) and also must have the capacity to deploy to future conflicts abroad to protect allies and areas of interest.
Our dployability will increase enormously when the LHD's are in-service. Personally I'd rather a 3rd LHD to any sort of "fast sea lift ship" but I don't think the coin will be provided.

At best we might get a barely modified civilian Ro-Ro ship to assist the LHD's.

Not ideal, but then it rarely ever is when it comes to Australian Defence capability.
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Old April 20th, 2009   #2063
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As I understand it, the RAN/ADF has the IP rights to the Hobart-class AWD. With that in mind, as well as the possibility that the Anzac follow-on frigate might share a common hull with the AWD, additional Hobarts could be ordered in the future.

I am thinking of something like a "Flight II" order of an improved Hobart(s) which might appear in the 2020 timeframe, or possibly upon completion of the Anzac follow-on build cycle.

Depending on the situation, additional orders could be placed while the current three are undergoing their build cycle, or if a future need arises the order might get placed later.

OTOH the government of the day might decide that more Hobarts are not called for, and therefore never look at various paths to getting more added to the fleet.

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Old April 20th, 2009   #2064
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2 x Fast LPD's: Similar to the fast Seacat we had during the timor operation,
.
Sorry LPD..... as in dock? Submerge the back end of these things with a dock and it will not be a 'seacat'. Following on from that...


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a seacat platform would be handy to supplement the LHD's and for operations in the south pacific and would enable the RAN to deploy a force similar to a US MEU, giving the RAN a quick reaction force which would be ideal in our area.
.
Well part of our area as most HSV bases transport vessels only have seated accomodation for the troops. For island within 12 hours sailing it is quite brilliant at getting troops there fast, however, it needs facilities to unload vehicles and it cannot support them.

Given the cost and operating restrictions (weight, sea state and so forth) of high speed hulls this would this would be a poor use of funds for a navy like the RAN where greater flexibility is required from our platforms.

As such I completely concur with AD

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C-17's give us this capability too. If we need this fast force, I'd rather additional C-17 capability.
As this will get them there even quicker.
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Old April 20th, 2009   #2065
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While the high speed ferry worked well with the one of the closest neighboring foreign islands to Australia, their worth wouldn't have been as worthy with Fiji or Samoa. To gain the required range, their high speed would not have been used. A cheaper slow freighter or ro/ro ship would have done the job as well. In my mind the ADF will find slow ro/ro ships more handy overall than fast ferries.
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Old April 20th, 2009   #2066
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We have chosen 2 of these ships, but to think of them carrying 20x fighter aircraft and still being capable of amphibious operations is to fail to understand exactly how these ships are designed, what they are designed for and exactly how much effort is required to support an entire squadron of strike fighter aircraft at sea.
I don't see permanently embarking 20 F-35B's on the LHD as a possibility. However it is possible for a F-35B to fly from a Raaf base, refuel/rearm two or three times off a LHD and then fly back to the airbase. They can significantly extend loitering and patrolling times out at sea. They can have two or three sitting on deck, waiting to be scrambled saving an hour or two flight time in emergency situations and as a deterent.

Its not ideal, but enough to assist in escorting, patrolling, gathering intel and as a short notice strike asset. The 35 sensors are going to be extremely valuable intel gathering, a flight pass of a single F-35 will tell you enormous amounts about the combat situtation, and allow guided 500lb bombs to deactivate bridges, coms, hardend defences, helicopters (missile), heavy vechicals, airfields etc and its stealthy and a naval launched aircraft could come from any direction. However your limited in that you can only operate near Australian land bases, basically in the region.

In combination with a cavour type carrier (which is only really designed to have 12 F-35 aircraft max 20 would be more like a QE carrier!) or a 3rd LHD (slightly more aviation biased say without a dock), you get the ability to strike from another vector, much further away for much longer periods of time and out of region. You own the airspace where ever it is and makes performing missions at longer distances far safer than through extended refuelling. Sortie rates go through the roof and its a massive force multipler. Australia could then operate completely independantly. Plus you get additional sealift and amphibious capability. While not directly needed now we should build a force that doesn't preclude its inclusion. This role could be filled by an allied ship (USN, USMC, RN, etc). But we should wait and see what we require and what capabilities UAV's will have and if the money/need will be avalible.

With what we are getting (2 LHD) I think 12 F-35B's would be a very useful purchase (take it from the total F-35 purchase). Not to permanently embark on the LHD, but to be used in conjunction with the LHD when they are operating in our region.
As inteligence and patrolling aircraft when the LHD are not operating an amphibious assault would allow Australia to search and scan (and respond in) vast regions of sea and air. 450nm in all directions from each LHD. You could make a 1800nm+ "barrier" in which regular patrols are carried out (every 1 of that 1800nm is flown over every hour).
You can do this without any refueling aircraft so this barrier is in addition to patrols conducted by SH/F35A from bases. This barrier can be beyond 500-600nm off the coast infact building a loop you could easily station it off 900nm from the coast creating a 900nm x 1800nm x 900nm box (or arc) with out a single air refueling asset just using the few measly F-35B and using its combat radius, using the ferry radius in peace time and you can spread things out a whole lot more (say 40% more thats 1300x2500x1300 box or arc). That sort of box would have short sides covering from Brisbane to (nearly) Fiji, the long side would be over 4,500km.This is just on internal fuel, add some drop tanks and .

But the greatest value is you can have aircraft forward based (sitting) on those LHD 24/7 waiting to respond/operate and not have a long flight with refueling needed atleast twice and high sortie rates from those LHD decked aircraft but backed up by land based aircraft doing the hard refuelling runs loaded with tanks.

Add land based F-35A/SH (patrolling the sizes etc) and you can extend this box to be absolutely enormous, with basic refueling it becomes a significant global sized box. You don't need your air refuelling assets sitting way out at sea, flying uneconomical missions, unprotected where every refuel is a life and death mission and hence impossible to regularly patrol or protect or gather hard intel for.

The LHD and F-35B allow us to easily and continously safely operate where it is currently very very difficult for us to currently operate. We can operate in this impossible region everyday, closing the air/sea gap completely.

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I "hope" so too, but in reality, I don't see it happening. If it were ever going to happen, the chance passed in November 2007 I'm afraid, with the change of Government...
Well the 4th AWD doesn't have to be ordered NOW. Its quiet feasable to be able to order it in the next term of government. Its still on the cards (although with a slightly lower chance). Given that we are going to build 3 AWD and fit out two LHD's there is enough slack that we can extend the later builds and draw it out longer to make a decision. At that time the budget, recruitment and value may be a lot clearer and the navy can make a stronger argument. The whole idea of the 4th was an incentive build anyway, only to be built if the project was on track. Plus it adds value to ASC. In fact it may be prudent to hold off as by the time the 4th AWD is to be built new technologies may be able to be incorperated or purchased which may be easier if the ship is slight reconfigured or wired during the build.
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Old April 20th, 2009   #2067
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When the Australians bought the MEKO 200s they were a good general purpose frigate design. When the Norwegians bought their Nassens ten years later they were a good general purpose frigate design, in my opinion better than the MEKOs. I am sure ten years from now there will be another better general purpose frigate design available.

While the Juan Carlos I will be used as a light carrier when their other light carrier is undergoing a long mid-life refit, to do so she will have to undergo a few changes which won't be done on the fly at sea. There is the matter of spare parts storage, maintenance equipment, armament storage and lifts, fueling equipment and storage. Sure the air group crew can use troop accommodations, and aircraft can be hangered on vehicle decks. These changes can not be made at sea on the fly.

Can another ship be built with these changes, yes. Will Australia do so, not at the price. Frankly, an LHD is more usefull than a light carrier. Back in the past I thought the Sydney was more usefull than the Melbourne. Without the Sydney I doubt whether Australia could have done as much as they did during Vietnam.

While its true wars are fought at the front, wars can also be lost at the back end as well. Without well fed and supported troops, troops lose effectiveness. Ask the Germans at Stalingrad.

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Old April 20th, 2009   #2068
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Can another ship be built with these changes, yes. Will Australia do so, not at the price. Frankly, an LHD is more usefull than a light carrier. Back in the past I thought the Sydney was more usefull than the Melbourne.
The LHD is a massively valuable asset and something we have needed for a long time. With out the LHD we have no useful amphibious assets.

The great thing about the JCI is that it can land, refill and launch a F-35B. Sure it can't operate them when its loaded to the gills as an amphibious ship pre assault, and it doesn't have all abilities of a carrier. But in terms of refueling, launching, landing and storing say 3 or 4 planes 1000 nm at sea it can do that fairly easily with minimal modification. It doesn't have the fuel bunkerage to do this for many planes (maybe 1 or 2) in its current form but it can do it and you get more options than A2A refueling. You would need a fleet oiler following the LHD around for amphibious missions or carrier missions, I think we should also think about additional fleet oilers.

Acting as a lillypad for F-35B should be feasable. All maintence, inspection, etc will occur on a land base. The JC1 does have a weapons lift. Even as a pure LHD, weapons will need to be stored on ship (minimal for an fixed wing aircraft however).

If used with its limitations in mind, F-35B's can be used in conjunction with the LHD's. We don't need many, 12 F-35B's would be great, but 8 would still be useful. 2 in maintence, 6 avalible. Not assigned to the LHD but refueling and landing on them from time to time yes. Not just F-35B's but operating UAV's from them will allow better patrol of the waters off Australia.

Can't wait until we get them, will be pride of our fleet.
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Old April 21st, 2009   #2069
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Acting as a lillypad for F-35B should be feasable. All maintence, inspection, etc will occur on a land base. The JC1 does have a weapons lift. Even as a pure LHD, weapons will need to be stored on ship (minimal for an fixed wing aircraft however).
Lillypading a land based F-35B off a LHD is far LESS efficient than using in-flight refueling of an F-35A. Even factoring in the ability to reload weapons the loss of flexibility, the waste of fuel burnt for landing and takeoff and the limitations it places on the LHD far outweigh any advantages. This is a system (LHD aircraft carrier) in search of a mission.
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Old April 21st, 2009   #2070
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Lillypading a land based F-35B off a LHD is far LESS efficient than using in-flight refueling of an F-35A. Even factoring in the ability to reload weapons the loss of flexibility, the waste of fuel burnt for landing and takeoff and the limitations it places on the LHD far outweigh any advantages. This is a system (LHD aircraft carrier) in search of a mission.
Totally agree.

In relation to F-35 enabled LHDs: Love the idea - unsure of the mission.

12 Tigers would be more effective, to my mind. It is hard to envisage a scenario where 12 F-35Bs are the answer. Anything in the region (or beyond) requiring that type of coercive airpower would be subject to strategic strike. Anyone not concerned by 12 Tigers is not going to be a purely expeditionary target of the AASG and SCFEG (or whatever the new merged structure will be in the NGN), it will be a national strategic target and so the RAAFie chappies will likely be along for the ride. 'Overpasses' of Fiji as demonstrations of power may be fun, but are expensive and would achieve little. It's fundamentally for that reason I believe that the 'full' 100 JSF (and ideally 120) are necessary, with additional MRTTs (3) - despite current pilot shortages.

I agree Australia needs a Light Carrier (CVL) but it needs to be either in the form of an Extra LHD specifically configurable for such a role or an extra ship of Cavour type. Anything less merely detracts from the LHDs ADAS (and Support) role. I see such a carrier as being necessary to ensure the ability of the RAN (in deploying the ADAS force) to eject opposition from bases in the region used by external powers, in conjunction with strategic/precision strike from the RAAF and RAN Tomahawks. I envisage such a force as part of a powerful 'fleet in being' alongside and enlarged SSG force (12). However, the pollies are not going to fund all of that and Tigers from the LHD can provide a close-support role ordinarily the task of carrier airpower. Let us be clear about this. The CVL type ship, if ever acquired would be primarily concerned with the support of the ADAS force objective of taking the ground and subduing hostile forces present. The role of any such base (either for Air or Maritime power projection) would be left for strategic strike to counter. Any ancillary benefits of having a CVL with F-35B airpower (carrier strike etc) would be just that and purely fortuitous only.

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