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F-35 - International Participation

Discussion in 'Air Force & Aviation' started by OPSSG, Apr 13, 2012.

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  1. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    F-35 - International Participation

    Dear Members,

    In view of the length of the old F-35 Discussion thread (at 206 pages), the Mod Team have decided to close the old thread. From 7 April 2013 onwards, members can continue their F-35 discussions in new threads. To organise these discussions, we have decided to split these discussions into three threads namely:

    (i) F-35 Program - General Discussion (covering all common platform issues, like the helmet system, program office news, GAO reports, and weapons integration);

    (ii) F-35B/C - Naval Air Discussions (covering all aircraft news specific to the USMC and the USN); and

    (iii) F-35 - International Participation (Partners, SCP and FMS Sales Discussions).

    We provide links to each of the other F-35 discussion threads above and this is No. 3 of 3 threads on the F-35. This thread dedicated to discussions related to the F-35 - International Participation (Partners, SCP and FMS Sales Discussions): covering all news relating to other nations planning to acquire or have acquired the F-35.

    If you are a new member, you might want to read a backgrounder called "Air Power 101 for New Members", before posting to stay out of trouble (think of this as a survival guide, to avoid being banned by the Mod Team).

    Journalism used to be an attempt to provide a balanced story. Unfortunately, some of the current reporting on the JSF tries to sell you a point of view that supports a pre-determined meme and we get poor quality journalism that contains known falsehoods to advance the meme. Further, we welcome informed criticism of the JSF program but we do not condone the passing-off of known falsehoods to advance an anti-F-35 meme (see the post on Clipping the Wings of Misinformation, in Air Power 101).

    Having said the above, join us in the discussions below.

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  2. aussienscale

    aussienscale Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    [Mod Edit: This post is copied from another thread because aussienscale's reply and re-direction provided HAWX is relevant. Australia is in the process of acquiring two Canberra Class LHDs but despite that, there is no intent to acquire F-35Bs nor any plans to operate fixed wing manned naval aviation on the Australian LHDs. As aussienscale noted below, there are threads where such hypothetical discussions took place; and he has provided such links to past discussions for your ease of reference.]

    Hi Hawx, welcome to the site :) The short answer is no, you might see some possible cross decking from the USMC or the UK but that is about it.

    The RAAF is aquiring the F-35A which is the conventional takeoff variant, the F-35B is required to operate from this type of vessell which is the short takeoff vertical landing variant.

    Have a good read of the following threads, they have a wealth of discussion and information on this subject, and just a word of advise, read them as this subject comes up all the time and gets very tiresome, not saying that to palm you off, but it litteraly comes up every month or so :(

    http://www.defencetalk.com/forums/navy-maritime/royal-australian-navy-discussions-updates-5905/

    http://www.defencetalk.com/forums/navy-maritime/sea-trials-lhd-jci-9587/

    http://www.defencetalk.com/forums/navy-maritime/hypothetical-carrier-buy-ran-10410/

    These threads have a wealth of information, it is a lot of reading, but will have every imaginable bit of info you seek

    Cheers
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2013
  3. fretburner

    fretburner Banned Member

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    [Mod Edit: The next six posts below are transferred from the old F-35 thread, as they are relevant to the discussion here.]

    Full production, means the total AC bought right? Which is over 2,000 AC?

    As far as support costs, are these figures good?

    According to the GAO, the Super Hornet actually costs the U.S. Navy $15,346 an hour to fly. It sounds like a lot — until you see that the U.S. Air Force's official "target" for operating the F-35 is $31,900 an hour. The GAO says it's a little more — closer to $32,500.

    CBC also asked Lockheed Martin to say if it had any quarrel with these numbers — and it did not.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2013
  4. ADMk2

    ADMk2 Just a bloke Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    I imagine there would be some costs that are shared, but I imagine that the more aircraft you buy, the more your support requirements will increase, at least if you intend to have these aircraft operational...

    There is a bit of difference in price there, but it must be borne in mind that packages are rarely alike (for instance I don't see any mention of reprograming centres in Brazil's Super Hornet request) but the figures bear out my earlier point.

    You can have an operational Super Hornet capability now or an F-35 capability later. The Super Hornet capability is only a small percentage cheaper, but is a significant percent less capable and one that is far more likely to be increasingly outclassed by advancing threats over the long lifespan that whichever of these capabilities you buy, will have to have?
     
  5. jack412

    jack412 Member

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    your link of the SH being $55m is in late 1990's year dollars or base year, the SAR has the 2012 year dollar at $66.6m and has the 2012 year dollar for the f-35a at $73m yearly full production rates which for the f-35a is usaf 80 units
    as to the $110, this may well be a current LRIP number, journalists love to have apples and oranges

    depends, there are debates where usaf, usn and usmc cost their planes differently and the GAO $32k is an average of all 3 isn't it?
    I don't think LM has committed to a price per hout yet, so I would need to see what they actually said in context

    Jane's said australia costed the super hornet at $24k per hour and the f-35a at $21k per hour.
    our SH $24k is a lot higher than the USN SH $15k
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013
  6. Vivendi

    Vivendi New Member

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    I looked up what Norway expect to pay for her package of 52 F-35; approx. 61 billion NOK, with today's exchange rate that's 10.5 billion USD, translating into 202 million USD per F-35, which matches what AMD2k suggested on the basis of the Israeli FMS.

    The 61 billion NOK is a P50 estimate; the P85 estimate is 71 billion.

    A country like Canada, which is also a partner should end up in a similar ball park.

    Another interesting figure is TCO.

    TCO for the Norwegian F-35 are estimated to 230 billion NOK (40 billion USD). Some key parameters:

    * 48 operational F-35A + 4 trainers (stationed in the US)
    * 30 years of operation
    * All operational F-35 at one airbase
    * The number of flight hours is assumed to be 7900 hours per year.
    * Delivery of trainers will start in 2016, main delivery will start in 2018 and last until 2021.

    The Norwegian defence budget is around 42 billion NOK per year, (7.2 billion USD), however I think it will be further expanded to incorporate the purchase of the F-35 package.

    I think that countries like Denmark are now a bit hesitant because of the high cost and high TCO of the F-35. Like most countries in Europe Denmark will probably further reduce the defence budget in the coming years.

    Today the Danish defence budget is around 21 billion DKK and the Danish Krona has roughly parity with the Norwegian Krona, so they have half the Norwegian defence budget. It seems they plan on deciding in 2015, and at that time their defence budget most likely will be even smaller. Perhaps they decide to drop fighter jets just like they dropped their submarines some years back?

    Alternatively they will end up with a very small number of F-35 -- and/or they have to drop some other capabilities to afford the F-35.

    I think the plans for Norway looks great, the only thing that is of some concern is that we will put all our eggs in one basket and have one airbase, roughly in the middle of the country. If a strong aggressor wants to gain air superiority, a massive surprise attack to take out that single airbase would almost ensure air superiority.

    We will have a forward base in Northern Norway, with I think 2-4 F-35 tasked with QRA. Not much to go to war with...
     
  7. ADMk2

    ADMk2 Just a bloke Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    Yep, it's nowhere near as expensive as many would like to portray.

    Yes, most package costs, include various elements beyond the actual aircraft and engines and all these things are required to deliver capability. The cost of an individual aircraft isn't all that relevant as an aircraft does nothing by itself.

    The cost overruns have primarily effected the development budget. The cost has increased but nowhere near as much as some of the doom and gloom merchants "predicted" and there are factors in those increases that are beyond the control of the program and apply equally to other aircraft and platforms.
     
  8. colay

    colay New Member

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    Equate? Not really but it's definitely compelling that the ROKAF isbeing offered a state-of-the-art 5Gen platform at pricing levels one would expect of a 4Gen aircraft.

    Given the questions raised about the technical and financial viability of the ROK building an indigenous 5Gen stealth jet, perhaps the F-35 becomes more appealing and may be seen as the best way to keep up with the Tanakas. I don't think this has any direct bearing to the RSAF situation though and it wouldn't surprise me if they made a commitment before the Koreans announce their choice.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2013
  9. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Friendly forces want high levels of interoperability with US forces, but if the JSF program does not achieve sustained and economic rates of production after LRIP Lot-9, they may look elsewhere; from Japan to South Korea (F-XIII competition) to Singapore (considering the option of acquiring by direct commercial sale, additional F-15SG aircraft) to Australia (considering the option of acquiring another 18 additional Super Hornets). Absent the F-35, this situation could leave these nations, as well as the US, much less prepared to either deter or face a direct challenge from China as a competing power in Asia. On 2 April 2013, there are three finalists (namely, the F-35A, the F-15SE or the Eurofighter Typhoon) for South Korea’s F-XIII competition, for 60 aircraft (see the F-35A FMS notification for a sale to Korea) and the decision for the F-XIII competition is due later this year.

    Israel was the first Security Cooperative Participant (SCP) to place an order for 19 F-35As on 7 Oct 2010. Japan was the first non-partner of SCP to place an order for 42 F-35As on 19 Oct 2011.

    Who will be the next non-partner country to place an order for the F-35? Will it be Korea or Singapore?
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  10. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    To get the ball rolling in this new thread, I am going to quote or repeat a portion of a relevant post on F-35 and international developments from two weeks ago. This post on Singapore and their evaluation of the F-35 below.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  11. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It is interesting to note that beyond the USMC, Singapore, a number of Air Forces are planning to operate the F-35B, namely, UK's Royal Air Force (138 F-35Bs) and Italy's Air Force (15 F-35Bs). The Italians have a base sharing plan for its 30 Navy and Air Force short-takeoff, vertical-landing (STOVL) aircraft, which is set to save on maintenance and support.
    Italy’s original planned order of 131 JSFs was cut back to 90 in February 2012 due to budget cuts. The Air Force had planned to buy around 40 F-35B STOVLs to replace its AMX fighters, while the Navy said it needed at least 22 to keep a full contingent on board the Cavour. Instead, the services are left with 15 STOVLs apiece, while the Air Force will receive 60 conventional F-35As.

    “Supportability is a key issue with two squadrons of 15 and 15 [STOVLs],” Gen. Giuseppe Bernardis, Italian Air Force chief said. “We think 30 is a number that is sustainable, and that is why we are going together. We will have common support and different advanced training.”​
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  12. t68

    t68 Well-Known Member

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    It is interesting that Singapore has expressed interest in a number of F35B to replace the F-5/A4 and not the A model like Australia and the USAF is acquiring. It does make tactical sense with such a small area to defend and will greatly improve the RSAF flexibility in deploying the aircraft, but it does have implications with the maintenance side of the equation with the B model expected to be more expensive to maintain than the F35A and compared to earlier aircraft such as the A4 and F-5 fleet which were the main considerations why the EX USN A-4B were purchased in 1973 and not new build AV-8A Harriers, which would have complimented F5 in the long term as the main air superiority fighter aircraft and the AV-8A as the air to ground.

    I can see why the RSAF would be interested in the F35B coupled with flexible basing and with the US expanding into the pacific, but would it be more logical to go with the A with commonalty with Australia in a logistical spares footprint since I would imagine most of their training would be in Australia.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2013
  13. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    There is a 6 April 2013, Malaysian news article "Singapore looks to ties that bind", that looks at the proposed F-35 buy from a US-Singapore relationship angle that is surprisingly understanding.

    The key to understanding the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is that Singapore is a status quo noteworthy rising power, sitting at a major maritime chokepoint (that is interested in limited sea control for specific purposes and supportive of freedom of navigation through the Straits of Malacca and Singapore). The Singapore Navy is a green water navy, with some special features, including being used as a tool for diplomacy. Through the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), Singapore's land based air power dominates these chokepoints, as a status quo power. The hard power that controls the adjacent land to the chokepoint, also controls passage of vessels. The ability to operate via FOBs and disperse forces, gives the SAF flexibility in the conduct of its defence, at a place and time of its choosing. Compounding its geo-strategic vulnerability, Singapore is the smallest country in land size within ASEAN.

    Having been dealt a geo-strategically disadvantaged hand at the country's formation on 9 August 1965 in the mist of tension with its ambitious neighbours, Singapore has to build military capabilities that it needs, first, and that has been the country's singular focus since August 1967. The SAF is not an expeditionary army, nor is the RSN a blue water navy; but it is the world's smallest country with a tertiary air force. Singapore's lack of depth has resulted in a clear focus on the building the basic force structure for regional over-match, if threatened; and the RSAF's capabilities serve to deter larger powers from acting unilaterally and buys valuable time for the citizen soldiers should they be required to engage in the forward defence of Singapore. Over the years, along with falling birth rates and as the SAF became more capable the duration of service required of Singapore men, as citizen-soldiers, has been reduced.

    Yes, it has come as a shock to some Singaporeans that Mindef is evaluating the F-35B, rather than the A model and it is clearly reflected in Singaporean posts in various forums. However, it is important to note that while the F-35B study was requested, the decision has not been made (see above post for the quote from the Minister of Defence dated 12 March 2013).

    We are all keenly awaiting the official announcement of the procurement decision.

    A F-35B procurement will cost more to acquire and to sustain. But cost is not the reason for the choice. The F-35B study requested by Singapore is classified and will not be released as an open source document (but I have speculated on a possible tactical reason in my prior post, above - h/t to David Boey for stealing his ideas and prior discussions on Exercise Torrent).

    A F-35B acquisition would enable the SAF (and its rapid deployment division - 21st Division, which is supported by 4 LPDs) to operate more like the US Marines (but without a LHD). Dispersion of forward deployed Singapore forces via FOBs is possible through the exploitation of the proposed acquisition of the F-35B, the refurbished KC-130 tankers, and the existing AH-64D Apaches, supported by Singapore's CH-47SDs. Dispersion allows RSAF aircraft to conduct flight operations for several days from numerous sites like stretches of highway, or expeditionary airfields using matting (eg. San Carlos Harrier FOB, built by the British in 1982 on the Falkland Islands - the runway length was 260m long). A main base located in the rear would provide logistical and maintenance support for ongoing operations and subsequent overhauling and repairing of aircraft. Since only some of the surveyed sites would be occupied, enemy targeting would be reduced to a complicated shell game.

    It is clear, the SAF is keen and capable of learning from the US Marines, their concept of operations and strive to inter-operate with them at a joint service level (eg. on 9 February 1991, US Marines AV-8B Harriers operated out of a forward site at Tanajib, less than 40 miles from ground operations, to support Operation Desert Storm; Tanajib was an oil field support base that had an airstrip but this was expanded by the use of matting for taxiways and aircraft parking). Over time SAF will declassify more of Singapore's military capabilities and it will all become much clearer to both you and me.

    The SAF's Army Development Force (SG_ADF), which has a high readiness Company of Guardsmen, 7th Singapore Infantry Brigade (7SIB) and its parent division, the 21st Division are the force of choice in joint Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW) with American and Australian forces in Asia. The choice of which of these Singapore Guards formations (SG_ADF, 7SIB or 21st Division) deployed depends on scale of operations. This is frequently practiced as part of Exercise Cobra Gold in Thailand via the deployment of a Singapore Division Command element for the exercise.

    For the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, commander 7SIB was deployed along with the men.

    For the 2004 Boxing Day Indian Ocean Tsunami, commander 21st Division (a 1 star) and his command staff were deployed to support operations in Indonesia. SAF operations at Meulaboh, with over 1,500 troops was a brigade sized command at work in humanitarian assistance / disaster relief operations. The SAF has been observing the US Marines and their concept of operational maneuver from the sea. The SAF's conduct of operations at Meulaboh, was live demonstration of this capability at reinforced battalion size level (in multiple phases, supported by the Naval Diving Unit and Engineers for the beachhead pushing supplies to shore from 3 LPDs) and with the brigade HQ (operating like a mini-US Marine MEU, but with lesser resources and people), under a Colonel (who speaks fluent Bahasa), controlling the heli-mobile element (our our terminal air guidance teams set up multiple LZs) to deliver aid to the Indonesians. The then Colonel that was in command at Meulaboh, is now a Minister in the Singapore Government (after retiring as head of Tradoc, at a 1 star level).

    By dispersing the SAF's air assets, Commander 21st Division can circumvent some of the restrictions of sea-based flight operations due to the limited aviation capabilities of the Endurance Class LPDs. The synergy that will result from dispersing RSAF aircraft (the proposed F-35Bs and the exisiting AH-64Ds) on land and/or on sea will provide the Commander 21st Division with air support that can be exploited at the time and place of his choosing in support of his subordinate Brigade Commands in their operational maneuver from the sea (OMFTS). OMFTS has the potential to force an enemy to defend a large area in the face of 21st Division's heli-mobility and ability to come by the sea (to conduct power projection in the face of light opposition).

    The acquisition of the F-35B, if it occurs, will give an augmented 7SIB the combat power of a reinforced US Marine MEB, without its ability to sustain the force. Without a LHD/LHA to sustain the F-35Bs, Singapore has limited ability to sustain the force (but the intent is to fit our force into a coalition, rather than go it alone). It would be premature to talk about LHDs/LHAs in 2013 as Singapore lacks the resources to develop and sustain this capability (with the current defence budget). Singapore is further away from such a naval force structure, due to limited national resources to raise, train and sustain.

    If you look at Singapore's 2012 or 2013 defence budget, it is not classed as a middle power (Australia, Canada, South Korea or Spain, just to name a few). Keep in mind that Singapore defence spending is one level below and there are limits to what the SAF can do to stretch Singaporean defence dollars at this time. The SAF is simply not as well resourced as the USMC (with the 8 Wasp class LHDs and the America class LHAs being built), the Italians (with the Cavour) or the British (with the Queen Elizabeth class), who are resourced for fixed wing naval air operations.

    Not so simple.

    I have spoken to ADMk2 on the trends in ADF and SAF force development over the last few years. We agree that both countries seem to be developing complementary capabilities and this means different but complementary equipment, for slightly different roles. Both Defence Ministers do consult each other for overseas deployments, burden sharing in operations, and have formalized this as an annual meeting (the relationship has grown by leaps and bounds since East Timor). Case in point, RAAF acquires Growlers and RSAF acquires the F-15SG, giving us complementary aircraft to form a combined strike package and the same or similar logic may apply to the F-35A and F-35B acquisition by the two respective air forces.

    There is some RSAF training in Australia but it is done on a unilateral basis and it only part of the basic portion of the fighter pilot training cycle. RSAF pilots are selected at the Air Grading Center (AGC), which is based in Tamworth, Australia (operating the CT-4 aircraft). After AGC, the trainees are sent to OCS in Singapore for training. Thereafter, these trainees attend the Basic Wings Course (BWC) with 130 Squadron. The BWC is 34 weeks and is held in Pearce, Western Australia with training conducted on the newly acquired Pilatus PC-21. Before proceeding for advanced training, trainees are also commissioned as officers upon completion of this basic phase of training.

    The transition to the M346 aircraft in 150 Squadron (at Cazaux Airbase in France) and with the introduction of new training capabilities will allow the RSAF to conduct her own ab-initio WSO (Fighter) courses. Currently, for a WSO (Fighter), he or she attends a 72 week course to meet WSO requirements at either Naval Air Station Pensacola, USA and Salon or Tours Air Bases in France, respectively. Upon successful completion, they earn the coveted WSO (Fighter) Wings before their next training stint.

    Next, the trainees are posted to the US at either Luke AFB (F-16C/D) or Mountain Home AFB (F-15SG) for fighter training, to stand-up as a squadron. It is a long training cycle.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  14. Whitehead

    Whitehead New Member

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    I thought South Korea just asked for 60 F-35s? Or was this just for information on a potential purchase?
     
  15. SpudmanWP

    SpudmanWP New Member

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    They asked what 60 would cost. They are getting the same info about 60 F-15SE and 60 Eurofighters.
     
  16. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Mike Yeo, has a write up "More joy for the F-35 in Asia?" at his blog that covers the acquisition programs for Japan, South Korea and Singapore. Below is a quote from his blog with regard to Singapore.
    He is fairly familiar with the Singapore defence scene and is into aviation photography, with published work.
     
  17. fretburner

    fretburner Banned Member

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    It seems like Singapore is buying additional F-15SGs: Singapore’s RSAF Decides to Fly Like An Eagle

    ...They also want 18 AN/AVS-9(V) Night Vision Goggles, the H-764G GPS with GEM-V Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM), and Common Munitions Built-in-Test Reprogramming Equipment (CMBRE-Plus) “in support of a Direct Commercial Sale of new F-15SG aircraft.”

    In other words, they’re about to buy another 12 F-15SGs as F-5 replacements and grow their fleet to 36, instead of buying 12 F-35Bs that won’t be useful until 2018 or later.


    This is quite a surprise as previous reports say they're leaning towards the F-35. Too bad I can't open the DSCA link...
     
  18. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, and we have cited Mike's blog post which he also clearly states the opinion that the RSAF fleet will grow beyond 24 F-15SGs, through direct commercial sale. This development is not unexpected and Mike was quoted because he provides context (that the F-5s might be retired soon). It also does not change the fact that Singapore's Minister of Defence has spoken on 12 March 2013; and he said the RSAF is currently evaluating the F-35 for potential acquisition.

    With regards to Singapore, there is as yet no FMS notification. And unlike Japan, there is no undue haste for Singapore to acquire the F-35.

    You should try reading the threads you post in. [/grins]
     
  19. fretburner

    fretburner Banned Member

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    ^ I did read that part. It's just that there were other news sources which were saying different, some of which Mr. Yeo also mentioned.
     
  20. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Mike (aka TheBaseLeg) has a published article on Singapore's F-5s. He is an expert on the RSAF. He tracks RSAF aircraft not only by tail number (the RSAF has been known to change the tail numbers) and he also tracks them by production number. I would be happy to be corrected by him any day.

    Most general news sources have a real problem even understanding the basics of Singapore's defence posture, much less the acquisition history of the RSAF. With regards to the Defense Industry Daily (DID), they not only cite APA misinformation as a source for some of their articles, they also engage in defending junk military science. I have a detailed post in the old F-35 thread, where DID anti-JSF meme was debunked. As stated in the post below, DID has recycled old false information as new, which does no end of good to their credibility. You should have seen that post from a week ago (see below).

    DID cite APA, whose work would not survive peer review, unless peer review means: Kopp writes a piece, submits it to Goon and Goon approves. DID sources are debunked.
    Note the post quoted below with regard to the junk science that is Pacific Vision. There is just so much 'fail' in DID and APA articles. For a laugh, here's a link to APA submissions to the Australian House of Representatives.

    Edit: fretburner, you should try reading the threads you post in. [/grins]
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013