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

hauritz

Well-Known Member
It may well be that the LiFT replacement may happen a bit sooner:


Interesting article in ADBR, by Andrew McLaughlin, regarding the RFI release, couple of interesting paragraphs:

"The Hawk is powered by the Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour Mk 871 which, in recent years has become increasingly difficult to support and has experienced cracking in the low bypass turbine. Engine problems and a persistent wing fatigue issue have led to a couple of groundings of the fleet, the last one in 2019.

"ADBR understands the RAAF is looking at an option to re-engine the aircraft with the newer R-R Adour 951 engine, although this has had a luke-warm reception due to the aircraft’s age and its ongoing fatigue issues. The Hawk also lacks the secure systems required to conduct integrated training and operations with F-35, EA-18G, E-7A, and other next-generation systems.

"Industry sources suggest the program could accelerate once the RFI responses are received, and that the planned life-of-type of the Hawk could be brought forward due to the engine and fatigue issues."


Normally I take most things written in the Media, even Defence Media with a grain of salt, but I've usually found that Andrew's articles (going back many years with AA magazine too) are usually pretty accurate.

If the problems with the Hawk fleet are as large as Andrew is suggesting, then it might well be a waste of money to perform the upgrades mentioned above, bringing the replacement forward a few years might well be a more sensible use of money.

For those old enough to remember, the aircraft that was replace by Hawk, the Macchi MB-326H, also had structural problems that let to earlier retirement despite the aircraft having gone through a wing replacement program, history repeating itself??

Cheers,
My first reaction to this is that the RAAF must run their training fleet pretty hard. Most other Hawk operators have kept their aircraft in service for much longer than the RAAF. The UK for example still operates a number of T1s and they have been around since the seventies and eighties.

Perhaps the most obvious solution would be to partner up with the USAF T-X program.
 

toryu

Member
(PS, I often wonder how the APA Goon squad react to that sort of good news? Ha Ha!).
I used to get a bit worked up at this lot and their little swarm of strangely dedicated followers, as they inhabit more than a few unfortunate corners of internet defence discussion spots. Thankfully, I learnt to just ignore them after time. Any response was just fuel to their fire and no amount of logic or facts brought into the discussion could ever bring it to an end. Just an endless stream of POGO this, GAO that, and all the lazy garbage 'defensenews' articles that fed off misrepresenting that information for cheap clicks.

That said, any gnashing of teeth or ghostly wailing on their part definitely warms the cockles of my heart. :)
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
Australia will spend $75 billion more than planned in the 2016 white paper over the next decade.


The central plank will be the AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM).

Up to $9.3 billion will also be spent on research and development into high-speed, long-range weapons, including hypersonic weapons.

The air force looks will get $65 billion, which includes up to $11 billion for combat drones and $17 billion on fighter planes. I wonder whether this is foreshadowing the next tranche of F-35s?
 
Last edited:

hauritz

Well-Known Member
While there is no mention of replacing the Rhinos there are plans for Additional Air Combat Capability. That makes me think that perhaps the Rhinos might be retained even if additional F-35s and purchased. I wonder if it is possible that a two-seater such as the Rhino might not, in fact, be a better option when it comes down to using teaming air vehicles ... at least during its development phase. The Force structure plan is in fact allocating more money to teaming air vehicles than it is to additional fighters so that might indicate changing priorities going into the 2030s.

Going into the next decade a sizable proportion of the RAAF will be made up of unmanned vehicles.

There is also mention of expanding the RAAFs lift capability on replacement of the C130J.

On the downside plans for additional KC-10A and dedicated search and rescue capability have been scrapped. I also didn't see any plans for any additional P-8A.
 

Takao

The Bunker Group
While there is no mention of replacing the Rhinos there are plans for Additional Air Combat Capability. That makes me think that perhaps the Rhinos might be retained even if additional F-35s and purchased. I wonder if it is possible that a two-seater such as the Rhino might not, in fact, be a better option when it comes down to using teaming air vehicles ... at least during its development phase. The Force structure plan is in fact allocating more money to teaming air vehicles than it is to additional fighters so that might indicate changing priorities going into the 2030s.

Going into the next decade a sizable proportion of the RAAF will be made up of unmanned vehicles.

There is also mention of expanding the RAAFs lift capability on replacement of the C130J.

On the downside plans for additional KC-10A and dedicated search and rescue capability have been scrapped. I also didn't see any plans for any additional P-8A.
There are two camps out there about the additional air combat capability; those that think that automatically equals more F-35 and those who think we are better off funding an increase in long range strike weapons. I think the best question to ask is what is the role of the F/A-18F on the battlefield of 2030. I'd argue - nothing. Hence (as you point out) an increase in uncrewed platforms.

The dedicated SAR was an attempt to get V-22. It's also an outdated way of thinking. SAR is a mission, not a capability. It will involve ISR, escort and lift. These three areas already have a number of options, especially with a long-range rotorcraft.
 

Boagrius

Active Member
I don't believe so. Not that it really matters anyway - the RAAF is clearly intent on moving to an all-5th gen force ASAP. Even in the U.S (the home of AMARC), the Phantom is being usurped as a target drone(!).

 

Incog_Nito

New Member
I don't believe so. Not that it really matters anyway - the RAAF is clearly intent on moving to an all-5th gen force ASAP. Even in the U.S (the home of AMARC), the Phantom is being usurped as a target drone(!).

Actually, I'm asking as some Air Forces around the world still uses them as strike platforms with Avionics Upgrade.

  1. Hellenic Air Force
  2. Turkish Air Force
They both will be making use of these Aircrafts till 2030.
 

John Newman

The Bunker Group
Do Aussies have F-4 Phantom II in storage?
Your question is about 47 years too late.

The RAAF received 24 x F-4E in 1970 and handed them back to the USAF in 1973, when the delayed F-111C were finally delivered.

Most of them were upgraded to F-4G and eventually the survivors to QF-4G drones, they have been destroyed many many years ago.

 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
Actually, I'm asking as some Air Forces around the world still uses them as strike platforms with Avionics Upgrade.

  1. Hellenic Air Force
  2. Turkish Air Force
They both will be making use of these Aircrafts till 2030.
Something important to keep in mind with defence kit, is that even if a particular nation owns a piece of kit, there are very often restrictions on how that piece of kit gets disposed of once it gets retired from the owning nation's service. This has to do with agreements put in place to limit dissemination of intellectual property (IP) as well as arms control restrictions.

In the case of any defence kit that is sourced from the US, has US IP, or components of US origin, then approval from the US State Dept. has to be received before a country could export a piece of kit that originated in the US. The relatively recent Canadian purchase of ex-RAAF F/A-18 Classic Hornets is a good example, where the sale could only go through once the US had consented to the sale.

The US, with FMS and ITARS regulations are particularly noted for including such limitations, but other nations also engage in such practices.
 

Gooey

New Member
... what is the role of the F/A-18F on the battlefield of 2030. I'd argue - nothing.

The dedicated SAR was an attempt to get V-22. It's also an outdated ...
Takao. I'd suggest that the Foxtrot very much has a place in 10 years time, especially for RAAF support to ADF. A "bomb truck" is unkind but is a good if simplest description of its mission. If nothing else, it is a superior Joint ADF platform to conduct the principle anti-SAG tasking using AGM-158C b/c of the traditional FJ air advantages of flexibility/speed/firepower.

Additionally, while UAS has missions that they are very good at (ala some ISR, decoy & close-in EW) they are also very unflexable (i.e. a FOXTROT can OCA today, re-role to ant-TAG, bit of CAS next day, followed by DCA ...) so that F-35/B-21 and other manned will be around for a few more years.

The CSAR/Long range SAR/JPR etc task for ADF (which are a subset of long range Special type Air Log missions) with a V-22 type of ac would be a significant improvement over what we have at the moment. Considering likely missions within Indo-Pacific their range would be very useful I understand that they are not cheap, but neither are SSK or Tiger or JSF.

Noting that everything has to be prioritised, missing Long range SAR is the least of our issues. I suggest that the missing part of this latest review was not increasing manning for RAAF by 50-100% so that we can man/person our existing and planned equipment, with reserve, attrition and training capability.

Just my 2 cents!
 

Takao

The Bunker Group
Takao. I'd suggest that the Foxtrot very much has a place in 10 years time, especially for RAAF support to ADF. A "bomb truck" is unkind but is a good if simplest description of its mission. If nothing else, it is a superior Joint ADF platform to conduct the principle anti-SAG tasking using AGM-158C b/c of the traditional FJ air advantages of flexibility/speed/firepower.

Additionally, while UAS has missions that they are very good at (ala some ISR, decoy & close-in EW) they are also very unflexable (i.e. a FOXTROT can OCA today, re-role to ant-TAG, bit of CAS next day, followed by DCA ...) so that F-35/B-21 and other manned will be around for a few more years.
You've hit on it in that last paragraph - F-35 and UAS. Sure, we could use (and honestly, probably will) the Super's for bombtrucks well beyond REDFOR air defence assets, but is that cost effective? Growler replacement may be a -18 airframe, but if it's not we then have a fleet of 12 with increasing obsolescence costs. If it's dropping bombs on Daesh, there are better options. If it's striking defended REDFOR targets there are F-35s, UAVs and long-range missiles. There isn't much else. Remember, there is 72x F-35s, 12x rocket launchers, 12x surface combatants with VLS, MQ-9B and additional uncrewed platforms. 12 extra airframes (not stealthy and crewed) would be nice - but at what cost?

The CSAR/Long range SAR/JPR etc task for ADF (which are a subset of long range Special type Air Log missions) with a V-22 type of ac would be a significant improvement over what we have at the moment. Considering likely missions within Indo-Pacific their range would be very useful I understand that they are not cheap, but neither are SSK or Tiger or JSF.
What we have now is a CH-47F. That's actually not too bad, especially when escorts are taken into account. A V-22 generally costs 2x each -47F frame. They'd be new for us, so that's a whole new fleet. Look at the funding allocated - that'll purchase what, 5x V-22? Sustainment wise you'd probably be looking at maybe 2 - 3. To give you an idea, it's less (in real terms) than AIR 87....

On the upside, you'd get range. Well, sort of. A MH-47G has pretty much the same combat range as a V-22 - and that's before the refuelling kicks in. Physical modifications (verse digital mods) to put the additional fuel into a -47F are pretty simple...

So, you'd get speed. And speed is awesome, but a huge cost. It's just not worth it.

Noting that everything has to be prioritised, missing Long range SAR is the least of our issues. I suggest that the missing part of this latest review was not increasing manning for RAAF by 50-100% so that we can man/person our existing and planned equipment, with reserve, attrition and training capability.

Just my 2 cents!
I'm not even sure long range SAR makes the list of priorities...:D

With respect to workforce, para's 10.5, 10.6, and 10.9 of the FSP suggest that you are mistaken that workforce for the RAAF was missing....
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
Any chance the $17b set aside for ‘fighters’ is anything other than additional F-35A’s?

F-35B’s or something else again?
[
The $17b is the current ongoing purchase of the 72 F-35As we are receiving now. There is $5-6b for an additional Air Combat capability but exactly what that is I don’t know. My best guess on that would be either upgrading or replacing the FA-18Fs as there is nothing else covering the Rhinos.
 

pykie

New Member
[
The $17b is the current ongoing purchase of the 72 F-35As we are receiving now. There is $5-6b for an additional Air Combat capability but exactly what that is I don’t know. My best guess on that would be either upgrading or replacing the FA-18Fs as there is nothing else covering the Rhinos.
what’s the current realistic options?

if that budget is accurate it might mean 40-50 units? For something in the $140m AUD price range?
 

Gooey

New Member
Thanks Takao, as always great to have other perspectives.

To be honest I'd entirely forgotten about the Chooks. They do a great job and could with limitations do this long range SAR mission, noting that I did mention this is really just another Air Mobility Special type task. The bit I didn't go into due time, is the missing AAR support mission from 37SQN but that is a typical RAAF fail 'cause its not FJ. Overall for AMG the C-27J is a ALS disaster and has split limited resources; C-130J are knackered and too few; missions such as helicopter & local FJ AAR are missing; CH-47 has hugely limited numbers and is with Army (apologies for any ruffled feathers, but the 80s political smash & grab of helo by Brown Jobs was/is another disaster).

Thanks also for tracking for me the para's 10.5, 10.6, and 10.9 of the FSP which I'll track down. Overall, is this a 50% manning increase? To be simplistic and blunt, we need this to prepare our airmen for the conflict that we hope will not eventuate.

WRT Foxtrot in our ORBAT, I thank you for the point about needing many tools for future ops (Army SRBM and MQ-9B not really being first line or long range anti-SAG). What the 2030s brings will be hugely interesting!
 

seaspear

Active Member
With the R.A.A.F,s F35A there was the previous discussion of a fourth squadron to bring to a total of one hundred f35a,s this is not stated in the document released by the government
Is there any confirmation that all of the f35a,s for the R.A.A.F will be brought up to block iv capability ?

 

Boagrius

Active Member
I can't fathom a reason for why they wouldn't be. It will be necessary to keep them up to date to allow the employment of the latest weapons, EW, sensor capabilities etc
 
Top