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Royal Australian Air Force [RAAF] News, Discussions and Updates

Discussion in 'Air Force & Aviation' started by Todjaeger, Mar 12, 2007.

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  1. oldsig127

    oldsig127 Active Member

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    Normal practice would have been to purchase sufficient to allow for training and attrition through the aircraft's life. So we have an early attrition, and I expect that the answer is "if we can't get a freebie, do nothing"

    oldsig
     
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  2. Tasman

    Tasman Ship Watcher Verified Defense Pro

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    It will come down to budget and priorities. Converting one of the prewired F/A- 18Fs to Growler configeration could be an option if it is decided that a twelfth Growler is more useful than the 24th Rhino.
    Tas
     
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  3. John Newman

    John Newman Well-Known Member

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    I think it's worth backing the bus up a bit and have a look back at the RAAFs Growler history.

    Back in 2008, the then Government, was looking at modifying the original Super Hornet contract to have six of the 24 Super Hornets delivered as Growlers (eg, 18 Super Hornets and six Growlers).

    By 2009 that changed back to 24 Super Hornets, with the last 12 pre-wired for possible future conversion to Growlers. By early 2013, the then Government, decided not to modify the existing Super Hornets (too much disruption to the Super fleet, especially with the overlapping transition from Classic Hornet to F-35A starting), and instead proceed with procuring 12 new build Growlers. Growlers reached IOC end of April this year, 2019, and FOC is not due until 2022-23.

    So whilst it's disappointing that the Growler fleet has been reduced from 12 to 11 (originally planned to be six), I don't think that's going to interfere with the RAAFs progress from IOC to FOC, shit happens!

    Should there be an attrition replacement or expansion of the fleet?

    Well I think that possibility may happen in time 'if' the capability proves itself and the RAAF can convince the powers that be that the capability should be expanded, that time might 'dovetail' with the decision due around 2025 for the 4th Sqn of F-35A.

    If the decision is made to proceed with that 4th Sqn of F-35A (the 2016 DWP has already made a budget allowance for it to happen), then there is the option to convert (some or all) of the 12 pre-wired Super Hornets to Growler.

    Just my opinion, but I'd say, sit back and relax for the next five years or so!!

    Cheers,
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019 at 9:28 AM
  4. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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  5. Boagrius

    Boagrius Active Member

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    John, just regarding the 4th squadron of F35s - I know it's early days but do you think there is any chance the RAAF might elect to hold onto the SH fleet a while longer and look to replace them with a 6th gen platform (NGAD/PCA) later on? Given the discussion about long range strike earlier I can see an argument for acquiring one of them in due course. There would appear to be two future opportunities for us to get into the 6th gen business - one when we need to replace the Rhinos and another in replacing the Growlers.
     
  6. King Wally

    King Wally Member

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    In my opinion there's very good chance of it, would only take a Labor / Greens gov to win a future election and you could see the 4th squadron decision kicked way down the road and Super Hornets extended out under the guise of "giving 6th gen options time to develop an option".

    And in honesty I think it would be mainly about pushing back the spending into someone else's federal budget rather then long term strategic foresight.
     
  7. Takao

    Takao Active Member

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    There should be more consideration of options than just F-35 / F/A-18E or EA-18G. The "Fourth Squadron" project, while shorthanded titled that, does not specify F-35s. It's for additional strike; as it stands, a BGM-109 could meet that requirement. If it's to be a fifth gen crewed fighter than it's a F-35 - but that first part isn't written (in stone or otherwise).
     
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  8. Boagrius

    Boagrius Active Member

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    It's a tricky one. Even in the short term we are poised to lose our main airborne long range strike weapon (JASSM) with the retirement of the classic Hornets.

    That leaves the RAAF with little in the way of long range strike or true standoff antishipping capability until JSM and/or JASSM get cleared on the F35. I guess you could try LRASM on the SH as an interim measure but I don't know if it has a land attack capability.
     
  9. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    The F-18E/F is capable of operating the JASSM, The AGM-158 JASSM family is made up as follows:
    • AGM-158A JASSM
    • AGM-158B JASSM-ER
    • AGM-158C LRASM
    Therefore, there is no reason that the RAAF F-18F cannot use the AGM-158A JASSM when the classic Hornets are retired and in fact, probably could also use the AGM-158B JASSM-ER as well if the F-18E/F has been certified for it. Once the USN integrates and certifies the AGM-158C LRASM on to the F-18E/F, the RAAF will have no problems.
     
  10. Boagrius

    Boagrius Active Member

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    I was under the impression that JASSM and JASSM-ER hadn't been integrated on the Super Hornet... at least not yet. Happy to be corrected if I'm wrong.
     
  11. Boagrius

    Boagrius Active Member

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    ...given the growing likelihood that PRC military assets will find a home in our immediate neighbourhood and the potential for PLAAF airpower to be capable of reaching our airspace in the next 10-20 years, I can actually see an argument for holding out until either NGAD or PCA bears fruit. Such an aircraft could potentially provide not just valuable long range strike and EW options, but also serve as a fast and high flying interceptor. You could reasonably keep the SH around (ala the USN) primarily as a standoff weapon truck, and arm it with LRASM, JASSM/ER/XR (if possible) in the interim.

    The main issue I can see there is that 6th gens are vapourware at this point, whereas F35 (among other options) will be much more mature by the time the “4th squadron” decision gets made.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019 at 9:16 PM
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  12. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    It was my understanding as well, that JASSM was not nor was it planned that the USN would integrate JASSM. IIRC there had been some initial discussion around the time after the RAAF SHornet purchase on whether or not Australia would pay to integrate and test JASSM. Again, IIRC the decision at that time was, "no." Now things might change with the LRASM being based off JASSM, but as of right now, I do not think so.
     
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  13. ADMk2

    ADMk2 Just a bloke Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    They aren’t. The integration was commenced by USN, but never completed when they opted out of the JASSM project. How much of the LRASM integration effort carries over into legacy JASSM isn’t exactly clear.
     
  14. Boagrius

    Boagrius Active Member

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    As I thought. I wonder if LRASM could be co-opted as a land-attack weapon as well - that way you could stick them on the Super Bugs as a stop-gap measure until a more permanent solution is found (the irony is not lost on me that the Super Hornets were supposed to be a stop-gap capability as it is).

    Looking further ahead into the coming decade there are two potential "oh sh*t" moments I can see coming our way from an airpower perspective:

    1) The establishment of a permanent PRC military presence in the South Pacific.
    2) The public appearance and subsequent fielding of the H20/whatever strategic bomber the PLAAF replace their H6's with.

    Just one of these could make our airspace readily within reach of the PLAAF(!), which is why the "wait and see what 6th gen offers" concept piqued my interest.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019 at 9:42 AM
  15. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    Why would you want to do that when you have the JASSM / JASSM-ER? If you were going to integrate one then check that it covers the other before running off on a tangent and spending good money.
     
  16. Boagrius

    Boagrius Active Member

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    No argument there, I am just assuming that they present separate integration problems. If not then yes, might as well have your cake and eat it too! :D
     
  17. south

    south Active Member

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    Quick question Takao - Got a reference anywhere that it is “additional strike” only?