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

Wombat000

Active Member
Tankers, in better than piecemeal numbers, would also be a nice niche capability for RNZAF, and allow for it to contribute to joint A-NZ capability.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I would imagine recent eastern Europe activities have highlighted why they need ready and high availability capability.

E3's and RC-135 looking very coldwar and perhaps of a different era. I can't imagine operating such historic classics is a robust and cheap operation. The RC135 is odd, joining uk service in 2014 using original early 1960's airframes from the USAF. That and the UK can't refuel them.

IMO the war in Ukraine seems to have highlighted that the RAAF is reasonably well prepared for that kind of conflict with their enablers, with E7's, MC-55A, growlers, F-35's etc. The US is upping its EC-37B program to 10 further highlighting the faith the USAF has in that project in the current state of the world.

Turkey recently operated its E7 out of Germany for NATO exercises. Imagine that wasn't easy to arrange. Probably involved more benchmarking of the E7 against the E3. The US buy puts the E3 on notice IMO.

I wonder if the RAAF is looking at more tankers and that 4th squadron for F-35's again. Now that a lot of its other programs are coming to fruition.
FSP 2020 had both more tankers and additional air combat capability plans. No guarantee that equates specifically to more F-35 and RAAF have raised the prospect of ‘other’ options, but difficult to see what else will be available in a reasonable timeframe to meet the requirement…
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Tankers, in better than piecemeal numbers, would also be a nice niche capability for RNZAF, and allow for it to contribute to joint A-NZ capability.
Their primary job is to refuel fighters, with large aircraft, which require less tanking a secondary role. With due respect, I’m not sure why it would be a capability priority for a service that can’t even make direct use of it’s primary capability…

If such were a priority, ordering some of the C-130J-30’s in ‘KC-130J-30’ specification would have been very straight-foward for RNZAF and would have afforded some capability in this role.

But such was not done…
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
I had always thought some KC130J would be useful for NZ if they weren't interested in A330's. They would be useful for five powers type exercises. NZ has quite a few priority areas they might wish to address first.
FSP 2020 had both more tankers and additional air combat capability plans. No guarantee that equates specifically to more F-35 and RAAF have raised the prospect of ‘other’ options, but difficult to see what else will be available in a reasonable timeframe to meet the requirement…
IMO drones are going to be an ongoing development, however, the manned fighter clearly isn't dead yet, and as we have seen with Ukraine, during conflicts, airframes of in service types can be hard to acquire in war time, with high tempo operations, you need airframes. With the approach of Blk IV of the F-35, the near completion of F-35 deliveries for Australia, IMO it could be time to outline an additional F-35A procurement.

Blk IV should enable EW capability, so perhaps the need for the growlers will dissipate (and we will have the MC-55 in-service). But the USN seems to think F-35 and growlers are very complimentary, RAAF is also getting a replacement, so perhaps just expand the overall fleet. Both the F-35 and the SH seem to be well liked.
 

John Newman

The Bunker Group
On the question of AEW&C, now and into the future, eg, E-7 is the now, and satellite is reportedly the future.

I am left scratching my head a little bit.

In the ‘now’ an E-7 can, for example, stay on station for at least 12-13 hours, the RAAF has flown operational missions in excess of 17 hours over a specific area or region.

The ‘future’ is reportedly to be based around satellites, but this is where I scratch my head a little bit.

Satellites usually orbit the Earth, they will provide coverage over a portion of the Earth until their orbit takes them away from that area, they are not going to provide 12-17 hours of coverage over one small specific area of interest.

An orbiting satellite doesn’t appear to be the answer, not to me at least.

Then of course there are satellites that are in geostationary orbit, these satellites are usually parked much further above Earth, and you would also need a larger number of satellites to provide a 24/7 global coverage.

It appears to me, either way you go, it’s going to cost a $hit load of money and require a $hit load of either orbiting or geostationary satellites.

Still haven’t completely wrapped my head around a solution for this one yet.

Hmmmm......
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
On the question of AEW&C, now and into the future, eg, E-7 is the now, and satellite is reportedly the future.

I am left scratching my head a little bit.

In the ‘now’ an E-7 can, for example, stay on station for at least 12-13 hours, the RAAF has flown operational missions in excess of 17 hours over a specific area or region.

The ‘future’ is reportedly to be based around satellites, but this is where I scratch my head a little bit.

Satellites usually orbit the Earth, they will provide coverage over a portion of the Earth until their orbit takes them away from that area, they are not going to provide 12-17 hours of coverage over one small specific area of interest.

An orbiting satellite doesn’t appear to be the answer, not to me at least.

Then of course there are satellites that are in geostationary orbit, these satellites are usually parked much further above Earth, and you would also need a larger number of satellites to provide a 24/7 global coverage.

It appears to me, either way you go, it’s going to cost a $hit load of money and require a $hit load of either orbiting or geostationary satellites.

Still haven’t completely wrapped my head around a solution for this one yet.

Hmmmm......
Also satellites are more susceptible to enemy action. They can be destroyed in situ, the signals interfered with or spoofed, and / or jammed. We already know that the GPS signals are being spoofed. There is also the time lag between the detection by the satellite, the data processed by the satellite, transmitted to the ground station, processed by the ground station algorithms and displayed onscreen for human analysis and action. Then such decision and orders have to be uplinked to another satellite for transmission to the appropriate unit to action. By that time the target has moved a reasonable distance. IIRC it's about a 2 second delay for an up and down link. So for a start we're looking at a 3 - 4 second delay just because of physics. Then there's the processing, classification of target, and analysis time as well as the decision making time. More time and if it's a hypersonic target it's not time that you can afford t waste.

Then there is the technical side.
  • Can you get a radar with a wavelength and frequency into orbit that has the power and resolution to detect and track very high speed small sized low observable targets from geosynchronous orbit?
  • Will that radar be able to fully operate in all earth's atmospheric conditions without loss of resolution?
  • Will it be able to fully operate within and through earth's Van Allen Radiation Belt and magnetosphere without loss of power or resolution?
 

Takao

The Bunker Group
On the question of AEW&C, now and into the future, eg, E-7 is the now, and satellite is reportedly the future.

I am left scratching my head a little bit.

In the ‘now’ an E-7 can, for example, stay on station for at least 12-13 hours, the RAAF has flown operational missions in excess of 17 hours over a specific area or region.

The ‘future’ is reportedly to be based around satellites, but this is where I scratch my head a little bit.

Satellites usually orbit the Earth, they will provide coverage over a portion of the Earth until their orbit takes them away from that area, they are not going to provide 12-17 hours of coverage over one small specific area of interest.

An orbiting satellite doesn’t appear to be the answer, not to me at least.

Then of course there are satellites that are in geostationary orbit, these satellites are usually parked much further above Earth, and you would also need a larger number of satellites to provide a 24/7 global coverage.

It appears to me, either way you go, it’s going to cost a $hit load of money and require a $hit load of either orbiting or geostationary satellites.

Still haven’t completely wrapped my head around a solution for this one yet.

Hmmmm......
Satellites didn't form part of the likely future AEW&C system. They may contribute to the picture, but they couldn't match persistence, survivability and response times. Instead, it was found an ideal mix would be a crewed platform a'la an E-7 and a UAV system that utilised a forward deployed ground station. Effectively 'just' a flying radar. This would allow a balance of persistence, flexibility, survivability and economy. It _may_ also allow a JSTARS-type capability to be added.

What the fighting element looks like was dependent on the scenario. A single E-(crewed) like now, an E-(crewed) with a E-(uncrewed) wingman or two to rotate signatures and offer off-axis targeting, an E-(uncrewed) with two Bushmasters, lots of options.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
...
E3's and RC-135 looking very coldwar and perhaps of a different era. I can't imagine operating such historic classics is a robust and cheap operation. ...

IMO the war in Ukraine seems to have highlighted that the RAAF is reasonably well prepared for that kind of conflict with their enablers, with E7's, MC-55A, growlers, F-35's etc. The US is upping its EC-37B program to 10 further highlighting the faith the USAF has in that project in the current state of the world.

Turkey recently operated its E7 out of Germany for NATO exercises. Imagine that wasn't easy to arrange. Probably involved more benchmarking of the E7 against the E3. The US buy puts the E3 on notice IMO....
Indeed. I expect that both the French & the NATO consortium are looking hard at the operating cost of E-3s & thinking about replacements.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
This article shows progress with the RAAF’s new MC-55A Peregrine purchase.

Warzone RAAF Peregrine MC-55A

It probably needs uprated engines to overcome the drag created by the huge number of aerials that are fitted.
And why would that be? Are you an aerodynamicist per chance? Or is it an informed observation? If so you'd better come up with a some evidence to back it up. You've got 24 hours until 6pm AEST (0600 UTC-GMT) Saturday 14th May to proved said evidence.
 
And why would that be? Are you an aerodynamicist per chance? Or is it an informed observation? If so you'd better come up with a some evidence to back it up. You've got 24 hours until 6pm AEST (0600 UTC-GMT) Saturday 14th May to proved said evidence.
Sorry Ngati, it was a whimsical comment based on the fact that the RAN HS748 aircraft that were used to provide electronic warfare training to Naval vessels were about 15-20 knots slower than the RAAF HS748’s that didn’t have the drag from the large number of aerials protruding into the airflow around the fuselage. As can be seen from the photo headlining that article, this MC-55A Peregine has a very large number of aerials added to the fuselage, wings & empennage so there will definitely be an increase in drag resulting in a requirement for higher thrust and fuel flow.

I do have significant aeronautical experience but no evidence to back up my flippant remark. I’m happy to delete the post if it doesn’t meet the forum’s guidelines.
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Sorry Ngati, it was a whimsical comment based on the fact that the RAN HS748 aircraft that were used to provide electronic warfare training to Naval vessels were about 15-20 knots slower than the RAAF HS748’s that didn’t have the drag from the large number of aerials protruding into the airflow around the fuselage. As can be seen from the photo headlining that article, this MC-55A Peregine has a very large number of aerials added to the fuselage, wings & empennage so there will definitely be an increase in drag resulting in a requirement for higher thrust and fuel flow.

I do have significant aeronautical experience but no evidence to back up my flippant remark. I’m happy to delete the post if it doesn’t meet the forum’s guidelines.
Fair enough. will accept that it is flippant. The RAAF HS748 were a tad slow, but not as slow as the Bristol Freighter, with its built in headwind and has been known to fly backwards on a calm day. I remember the 748's coming to Wigram on their NAVEXs and we'd zap them with a Kiwi at some stage. One time the detachment commander had no sense of humour about the zap and went totally NATO over it. Complained to the Base CO he did and in trouble did the zappers get.
 
Having researched further, it looks like the MC-55A is staying with the two Rolls-Royce BR 710-C4-11 engines each produce 15,400lbf of thrust as standard on the Gulfstream 550. This should be more than sufficient thrust as a version of this engine powers the much larger B717.

The big difference is the addition of two 240Kw generators to power all the equipment. The generators on most airliners are in the 90-120Kw range so this is a serious amount of electrical power in a small aircraft.

ADBR Peregrine
 

At lakes

Active Member
Fair enough. will accept that it is flippant. The RAAF HS748 were a tad slow, but not as slow as the Bristol Freighter, with its built in headwind and has been known to fly backwards on a calm day. I remember the 748's coming to Wigram on their NAVEXs and we'd zap them with a Kiwi at some stage. One time the detachment commander had no sense of humour about the zap and went totally NATO over it. Complained to the Base CO he did and in trouble did the zappers get.
I remember the 748's coming into Wigram very well and i also remember that incident the small black kiwi being painted just lower aft of the cockpit and the Aussie detachment commander frothing at the mouth when he saw what we had done.
 
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I remember the 748's coming into Wigram very well and i also remember that incident the small black kiwi being painted just lower aft of the cockpit and the Aussie detachment commander frothing at the mouth when he saw what we had done.
I thought zapping of visiting aircraft was fair game - I hope someone was able to put a sticker inside the wheel well of the B2 that visited RAAF Amberley recently.
 

old faithful

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
I remember the 748's coming into Wigram very well and i also remember that incident the small black kiwi being painted just lower aft of the cockpit and the Aussie detachment commander frothing at the mouth when he saw what we had done.
All good fun!
3 RAR were notorious for painting "wings" on things.
Like 5/7 RARs pig mascot....also for "liberating" things.....like the brass name plate of a US nuke sub at Pearl Harbour....true story, it's still in the Bn watering hole, the Chateau or shat as it is known.
One of the best souvenirs I have seen was at RAAF Fairbairn it was turd in a jar of famaldahyde, belonging to none other than her majesty, taken from a VIP flights toilet that was not used by anyone else!
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
All good fun!
3 RAR were notorious for painting "wings" on things.
Like 5/7 RARs pig mascot....also for "liberating" things.....like the brass name plate of a US nuke sub at Pearl Harbour....true story, it's still in the Bn watering hole, the Chateau or shat as it is known.
One of the best souvenirs I have seen was at RAAF Fairbairn it was turd in a jar of famaldahyde, belonging to none other than her majesty, taken from a VIP flights toilet that was not used by anyone else!
Jolly jacks off a RNZN frigate liberated a couple of the small pines from outside White House in Washington. They had to deep six them before they arrived in Auckland because the then Quarantine Service would've one ballistic about them. At the RNZAF Museum there's a seat from the Singapore RAF Airmens Club that somebody liberated.
 

Rob c

Well-Known Member
Jolly jacks off a RNZN frigate liberated a couple of the small pines from outside White House in Washington. They had to deep six them before they arrived in Auckland because the then Quarantine Service would've one ballistic about them. At the RNZAF Museum there's a seat from the Singapore RAF Airmens Club that somebody liberated.
I remember reading a quote some years ago (+50?) reputedly by McArthur, that he said that the quickest way to win the war was to put the Japanese and the New Zealander's all on the same island and within a week the Japanese would not have any equipment left. My Dad did mention once that on an island he was on with 2SU the American servicing unit moved on, to be replaced by another in a weeks time leavingall there gear for the next unit in a building. when the new unit arrived they found an empty shell of a building, even the windows were gone. Dad said 2SU was the best equipped SU in the region after that.
 

ASSAIL

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Reported in the Oz today, can’t link
Dutton announces that a re-elected coalition govt will invest in 8 Ghost Bat MQ28A surveillance drones.
An initial investment of $450m will be made and these are expected to enter service between 2024-25.
This announcement may give some hint as to why the previous MQ 9s were cancelled although the presumed tasking appears to be different?
Some member with greater expertise may wish to comment
 
Reported in the Oz today, can’t link
Dutton announces that a re-elected coalition govt will invest in 8 Ghost Bat MQ28A surveillance drones.
An initial investment of $450m will be made and these are expected to enter service between 2024-25.
This announcement may give some hint as to why the previous MQ 9s were cancelled although the presumed tasking appears to be different?
Some member with greater expertise may wish to comment
There is a Herald Sun article about the announcement but it’s behind a paywall. I didn’t see any other articles about it.

Herald Sun Dutton announces Ghost Bat order
 
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