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

FormerDirtDart

Well-Known Member
I think you must be referring to the P8A there? Last I heard it had been cleared to carry LRASM, but that's about it. Could be a very serious anti-shipping platform if stacked to the gills with LRASMs...
If you consider issuing a contract to develop the capability to be "cleared to carry".
The US Navy issued a contract in April to "design, develop, and test the software and ancillary hardware for integration of the missile onto the Boeing aircraft." That project is currently expected to be completed by Oct 2024.
So no, there is no capability for P-8 Poseidon aircraft to carry LRASM
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
No mixed signals, not at all.

What you need to do is go back a decade or so and have a read of all previous DWP (2009, 2013 and 2016, all available on line), you also need to have a read of their accompanying DCP or DIIP and yearly updates of the DCP (all the same thing, different name).

In the 2020 DSU and accompanying FSP there is the budgeted project, with timeline, called ‘Additional Air Combat Capability’, in previous documents it was the ‘4th Squadron’ etc, which specifically referred to F-35A.

Basically what you have is the same project, similar time line and budget amount, what has changed over the last decade or so is that the project has ‘evolved’, instead of having a narrow focus, it has a much broader focus on what ‘might or might not’ replace the Super Hornets.

If you are going to set a plan for the next ten years you need to have budgeted projects, some may change, some may not, but you need a line entry in the plan so it can be taken into account for funding purposes at the very least.

As to the ‘EA-18G Growler Replacement’ you need to look at the ‘timeline’ of the project, it’s starts just prior to 2030, but also runs past 2040, just because a project appears to start early doesn’t mean that the capability is changed at the beginning of the timeline, there will be lots of studies and investigations well ‘before’ the actual replacement happens.

It’s always worth doing a bit of research, go back in time and you’ll usually find the answer.

Cheers,
Another project which came out of the 2020 Update is the LR Rotocraft which looks at first glance to have evolved from the CSAR project from the 2016 DWP, which was dropped from the Update.
Lets not forget too that we are likely to see another DWP before a lot of these Projects are due to start.
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
If you consider issuing a contract to develop the capability to be "cleared to carry".
The US Navy issued a contract in April to "design, develop, and test the software and ancillary hardware for integration of the missile onto the Boeing aircraft." That project is currently expected to be completed by Oct 2024.
So no, there is no capability for P-8 Poseidon aircraft to carry LRASM
Yeah apologies that was sloppy writing on my part. Should have said "being cleared". Alas, you are correct.
 

John Newman

The Bunker Group
Another project which came out of the 2020 Update is the LR Rotocraft which looks at first glance to have evolved from the CSAR project from the 2016 DWP, which was dropped from the Update.
Lets not forget too that we are likely to see another DWP before a lot of these Projects are due to start.
Here’s some info on the LR S&R capability from the 2020 update (plus two other projects that were canned too):


“5.19 To balance its investments in future initiatives, Defence will not proceed with plans for:
“• Two additional KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transports, with increased funding directed towards sustainment and spares to allow for greater availability of current aircraft;
“• Additional C-17 heavy-lift aircraft, as the C-17 is no longer produced. Funding for the C130J replacement program has been increased to provide for an expanded replacement fleet; and
“• A dedicated long-range search and rescue capability, with this role to be managed by introducing search and rescue capability into planning for future air mobility platforms.”


If you read the 2020 documents in more detail, there is an interesting helicopter project mentioned right at the bottom of the ‘Land’ projects:


A project starting in the late 2020s is titled ‘Long-ranged Rotorcraft’, budget is valued up to $2.1b, this project is totally separate to the other ‘Next Gen Rotorcraft’ project.

Anyway, it’s always worth taking the time to read the most recent Defence documents and comparing to older documents too.

Cheers,
 

Stampede

Well-Known Member
If you consider issuing a contract to develop the capability to be "cleared to carry".
The US Navy issued a contract in April to "design, develop, and test the software and ancillary hardware for integration of the missile onto the Boeing aircraft." That project is currently expected to be completed by Oct 2024.
So no, there is no capability for P-8 Poseidon aircraft to carry LRASM
Correct, no current capability for LRASM on the P-8 but hopefully its integrated down the track .



Certainly a good option for the ADF.

Will be interested as to the final number of P-8s for the RAAF.
12 in service today with another 2 approved late last year.
RAAF site still claims 15, but the order of just two extra for a total of 14 looks like this may be the final number.
This still certainly looks good compared to the initial order of 8.

If their is a variable, it might be in the outcome of production of the complimentary MQ-4C Triton.

Should this platform be delayed significantly, then maybe extra manned P-8's maybe a prudent investment.

Time will tell.

Regards S
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
In the 2020 DSU and accompanying FSP there is the budgeted project, with timeline, called ‘Additional Air Combat Capability’, in previous documents it was the ‘4th Squadron’ etc, which specifically referred to F-35A.
Just to clarify. I have heard mention of a fourth squadron before, but are they intending to reactivate an old fighter squadron or are they simply talking about replacing the SuperHornets?

If the RAAF does get another 28 F-35s that would probably be enough for an additional fighter squadron and a replacement for the supers in No 1 squadron ... at least according to my math.
 

John Newman

The Bunker Group
Just to clarify. I have heard mention of a fourth squadron before, but are they intending to reactivate an old fighter squadron or are they simply talking about replacing the SuperHornets?

If the RAAF does get another 28 F-35s that would probably be enough for an additional fighter squadron and a replacement for the supers in No 1 squadron ... at least according to my math.
You have to roll the clock back 20+ years to get to the beginning.

The plan then was to procure approx 100 new combat aircraft to replace the F/A-18A/B fleet and the F-111C fleet, eg, ‘one’ aircraft type to replace ‘two’ aircraft types then in service.

There were 3 x operational and 1 x training squadrons of Classic Hornets, and 1 x operational and 1x training squadrons of F-111C.

And as we know the F-35A was selected to replace both types with 100 aircraft, the end result would have been: 4 x operational squadrons and 1x training squadron, 1x training squadron would disappear (that squadron has now become the Growler squadron).

But of course the F-111C fleet was retired early and replaced with Super Hornets, initially as an interim capability for 10 years.

So to recap, the ‘4th squadron’ is what was originally planned to replace F-111C, and may still replace the ‘interim’ Super Hornets.

Clear enough?
 

Stampede

Well-Known Member
You have to roll the clock back 20+ years to get to the beginning.

The plan then was to procure approx 100 new combat aircraft to replace the F/A-18A/B fleet and the F-111C fleet, eg, ‘one’ aircraft type to replace ‘two’ aircraft types then in service.

There were 3 x operational and 1 x training squadrons of Classic Hornets, and 1 x operational and 1x training squadrons of F-111C.

And as we know the F-35A was selected to replace both types with 100 aircraft, the end result would have been: 4 x operational squadrons and 1x training squadron, 1x training squadron would disappear (that squadron has now become the Growler squadron).

But of course the F-111C fleet was retired early and replaced with Super Hornets, initially as an interim capability for 10 years.

So to recap, the ‘4th squadron’ is what was originally planned to replace F-111C, and may still replace the ‘interim’ Super Hornets.

Clear enough?
The RAAF is seemingly well placed regards to combat aircraft.
The Super Hornets are relatively young and are a well regarded platform with a long future. The USN will provide support and upgrades that the F111 didn't get once the US retired the Aircraft. Getting the SH when we did was a good call.
Soon we will also have three active Sqns of the F35, which hopefully lives up to speculation as the standout 5th gen aircraft of choice any where in the would.
Another good call.

The RAAF have many options, one of which is to do nothing more than to keep this structure in place for many years to come.
This maybe what happens.
However!
The variable is how we view Chinas robust confrontational conduct and rapid defence mobilization.
This is very recent behavior and post dates the previous DWP's and long term planned Aircraft acquisition.
Perception will guide government and defence regarding major projects in the short and long term.
I feel the previous script maybe out the door, so await the next DWP to get some greater clarity.

A modest expansion or aircraft numbers could very well be on the table.
If so what's kept and what is acquired.
If we go down this path then new orders would not be far away.

My bet is the existing fleet ( F35A and SH and Growler ) soldiers on as is with some additional F35's topping up the numbers.
Maybe not a full SQN, but some for training/spares and dare I say attrition.

We'll see

Regards S
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
Yes the future composition of the ACG strikes me a little unclear at the moment. While there is always the option of replacing the SH with the 4th F35 squadron, the U.S has some ambitious plans for NGAD which should be well optimised for our region and threat environment. In the mean time there is also Loyal Wingman out there taking shape. May the best force mix win :)
 

Bob53

Active Member
Hopefully one thing the US has learned from its F-22 program is that exports can provide additional production that lowers the unit cost thus making decent acquisition numbers for their own Air Force. Like other Western economies, the US can’t direct much more money towards mega defence projects. The worst outcome for the NGAD fighter is 50-100 copies of each version resulting in a total roughly the same as the Raptor fleet.
2 cost issues with some of the recent discussions on NGAD and the idea there will be 2x models…. apparently a longer range model and another shorter range but bigger weapons load.
Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me … again.
Additional development, integration and testing costs. Then lower numbers of each model lead (was 100 of each ever mentioned?) to increased acquisition and support costs.
How about just build 1 plane but come up with a way to build the weapons bay big enough to partition to carry either weapons or containers for additional fuel. 1 bay fuel 1 bay weapons or 2 bays weapons.
 

Bob53

Active Member
I see mixed signals when it comes to replacing the Rhino's and Growlers. In the case of the Growler the last Defence Budget provides funding for replacing the Growler lost a couple of years back while at the same time the 2020 Defence Update plan seemed to be calling for an early replacement of the entire EA-18G fleet.

The 2020 Defence update refers to "Additional Air Combat Capability" for the second half of the 2020s without ever going into any detail as to what that actually entails.

Other related programs such as research into High Speed Long-Range strike could very much influence what ever decisions are made about what sort of aircraft will be required to replace the SuperHornets. Perhaps a simple bomb truck with more range and better payload might be more relevant to Australia than additional F-35s..


There are a number of research programs being conducted over the coming years that may, or may not pan out. As I see it there are still many complex decisions that will need to be made over the next decade.
I agree F15 is a more pragmatic solution for the ranges Australian forces may be required to cover. NGAD is full of if buts and maybes and has a very different primary role. It would be very optimistic to think any Squadron of NGAD could be operational in Australia before the first subs hit the water. And thats with the big if NGAD becomes available for allies and then add no one knows it’s performance, costs or capabilities as yet. Sound familiar to any other projects?

Either way F15 or NGAD is adding another aircraft type. They have 2 very different primary roles so it’s probably a moot point to consider either or. If we want a defence fighter in contested airspace then NGAD but if we want to deliver a lot of strike weapons a long way then F15. I doubt any of them will get to RAAF regardless of what’s discussed here. If it’s not F35 it’s more likely to be Rhino I would think.

What’s happens with loyal wingman is more likely to influence any future selections. To me, if it’s defensive/strike role, it’s more feasible to develop a longer range wingman in numbers than to go buying either F15 or NGAD.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
2 cost issues with some of the recent discussions on NGAD and the idea there will be 2x models…. apparently a longer range model and another shorter range but bigger weapons load.
Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me … again.
Additional development, integration and testing costs. Then lower numbers of each model lead (was 100 of each ever mentioned?) to increased acquisition and support costs.
How about just build 1 plane but come up with a way to build the weapons bay big enough to partition to carry either weapons or containers for additional fuel. 1 bay fuel 1 bay weapons or 2 bays weapons.
No, I threw out the 100 numbers as a worse case size, an overall fleet size of about 200 for both versions. This would just be repeating the Raptor saga. Agree, two versions sounds like a JSF 2 with all the associated grief. Big weapons bay that can have a variable weapons fuel ratio makes sense to me.
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
Yes, I also got a cold shiver down my spine when I heard the "two NGAD versions" concept on the grapevine. Hopefully that's where it stays.

Fingers crossed for the expected wideband VLO multi-role jet with ~1000nm combat radius and whatever 6th gen bells and whistles it needs, plus export to close allies to beef up production numbers and help generate economies of scale.
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
I agree F15 is a more pragmatic solution for the ranges Australian forces may be required to cover. NGAD is full of if buts and maybes and has a very different primary role. It would be very optimistic to think any Squadron of NGAD could be operational in Australia before the first subs hit the water. And thats with the big if NGAD becomes available for allies and then add no one knows it’s performance, costs or capabilities as yet. Sound familiar to any other projects?

Either way F15 or NGAD is adding another aircraft type. They have 2 very different primary roles so it’s probably a moot point to consider either or. If we want a defence fighter in contested airspace then NGAD but if we want to deliver a lot of strike weapons a long way then F15. I doubt any of them will get to RAAF regardless of what’s discussed here. If it’s not F35 it’s more likely to be Rhino I would think.

What’s happens with loyal wingman is more likely to influence any future selections. To me, if it’s defensive/strike role, it’s more feasible to develop a longer range wingman in numbers than to go buying either F15 or NGAD.
This is why I don't think decisions about what will come after the SuperHornets may not be as straight forward as many think. Buying MOTS ... which is what Australia will be doing when it looks towards its next generation of fighters won't give us the sort of aircraft we need.

The same people who justify spending perhaps $100 billion on a new submarine would baulk at spending the same amount of money on a new combat aircraft. I could never understand that line of thinking. Australia having a long range strike capability could prove just as vital going into the 2030s.
 

Stampede

Well-Known Member
I agree F15 is a more pragmatic solution for the ranges Australian forces may be required to cover. NGAD is full of if buts and maybes and has a very different primary role. It would be very optimistic to think any Squadron of NGAD could be operational in Australia before the first subs hit the water. And thats with the big if NGAD becomes available for allies and then add no one knows it’s performance, costs or capabilities as yet. Sound familiar to any other projects?

Either way F15 or NGAD is adding another aircraft type. They have 2 very different primary roles so it’s probably a moot point to consider either or. If we want a defence fighter in contested airspace then NGAD but if we want to deliver a lot of strike weapons a long way then F15. I doubt any of them will get to RAAF regardless of what’s discussed here. If it’s not F35 it’s more likely to be Rhino I would think.

What’s happens with loyal wingman is more likely to influence any future selections. To me, if it’s defensive/strike role, it’s more feasible to develop a longer range wingman in numbers than to go buying either F15 or NGAD.
Yep,
I doubt the RAAF will settle for three different aircraft types within service at one time.
For all the attributes of the F15 family it's not the future and therefore doubt it has a place within the RAAF going forward.
NGAD has too many unknowns.
A good one to keep on the radar long term.
Need to know a lot more in concrete about its attributes, pricing, availability and production time table.
A good potential" maybe "at this stage. :)


Regards S
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
It's too early to begin thinking about Shornet replacements. At the present point in time the decision to keep them for good or to divest them in the short term hasn't been made. Until that decision has been made public there are far too many what if and fantasy fleet scenarios.

WRT the NGAD the USAF doesn't even know what it wants at the moment. Until they crystallise their thinking on that it's pointless to even consider it because nothing is known about it to perform any analysis on.

Therefore I strongly suggest that you concentrate upon something that is far less esoteric and abstract and far more realistic. Or the Kiwi Moderators might start crowing about a certain world cricket test trophy. I am sure that our Aussie cousins wouldn't be keen on that. :cool:
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
There is a solution to Australia's long range strike capability that I suspect is being considered. The 2020 Defence update decided against acquiring additional MRTT aircraft while at the same time recommending investment in a larger replacement fleet for the KC-10A. Australia's KC10-A replacement has a massive $17.5 to $26.2 billion price tag which makes it the single most expensive program the RAAF will be involved in through to 2040. To me this would seem to point toward a substantial fleet of tankers and probably something much more capable than a large unwieldy converted airliner.

My mind immediately goes to something like the USNs MQ-25 Stingray.
 
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Boagrius

Well-Known Member
There is a solution to Australia's long range strike capability that I suspect is being considered. The 2020 Defence update decided against acquiring additional MRTT aircraft while at the same time recommending investment in a larger replacement fleet for the KC-10A. Australia's KC10-A replacement has a massive $17.5 to $26.2 billion price tag which makes it the single most expensive program the RAAF will be involved in through to 2040. To me this would seem to point toward a substantial fleet of tankers and probably something much more capable than a large unwieldy converted airliner.

My mind immediately goes to something like the USNs MQ-25 Stingray.
Minor correction - the MRTT is actually designated the KC30A. Main issue with the MQ25 is that it can't carry remotely as much fuel as the KC30 and I don't think it does the boom refuelling our F35s need. I do take your point about the funds allocated though. Very substantial.
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
This is why I don't think decisions about what will come after the SuperHornets may not be as straight forward as many think. Buying MOTS ... which is what Australia will be doing when it looks towards its next generation of fighters won't give us the sort of aircraft we need.

The same people who justify spending perhaps $100 billion on a new submarine would baulk at spending the same amount of money on a new combat aircraft. I could never understand that line of thinking. Australia having a long range strike capability could prove just as vital going into the 2030s.
But the $100b price tag for the Subs is over a 40 year period, a $100b price tag for Jet Fighters to replace the FA-18Fs would be over a 5-10 year period.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
There is a solution to Australia's long range strike capability that I suspect is being considered. The 2020 Defence update decided against acquiring additional MRTT aircraft while at the same time recommending investment in a larger replacement fleet for the KC-10A. Australia's KC10-A replacement has a massive $17.5 to $26.2 billion price tag which makes it the single most expensive program the RAAF will be involved in through to 2040. To me this would seem to point toward a substantial fleet of tankers and probably something much more capable than a large unwieldy converted airliner.

My mind immediately goes to something like the USNs MQ-25 Stingray.
The RAAF requires an airborne refuelling platform that incorporates a boom. At the present and for the foreseeable future, the only platforms with that capability are modified airliners. I very strongly suspect that the $17.5 to $26.2 billion price cited for the KC-30 replacement is the WOLC (Whole Of Life Costs) for the capability, not the flyaway costs. If it was just the flyaway costs that would be something like 30 - 40 aircraft and I can't see any justication whatsoever for a number of platforms that high.
 
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