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

At lakes

Well-Known Member
The RNZAF T-6 Texans are wired up for armaments. Shame we only bought 13.
Its unfortunate that the loopy left wont let the RNZAF use the capability. Its like taking up archery buying a bow and not the arrow because someone might get hurt, also i could be wrong but i think they only brought 11 and one has done a wheels up landing so they may only ten available. Unless they have fixed it
 
Its unfortunate that the loopy left wont let the RNZAF use the capability. Its like taking up archery buying a bow and not the arrow because someone might get hurt, also i could be wrong but i think they only brought 11 and one has done a wheels up landing so they may only ten available. Unless they have fixed it
Yes, only 11 - T-6 Texans were purchased by the RNZAF. NZ1402 had the wheels up landing in 2018. The aircraft was repaired/returned to service quite some time ago.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Its unfortunate that the loopy left wont let the RNZAF use the capability. Its like taking up archery buying a bow and not the arrow because someone might get hurt, also i could be wrong but i think they only brought 11 and one has done a wheels up landing so they may only ten available. Unless they have fixed it
Interesting your Government will allow RAAF PC-21’s to deploy to NZ to train your own JTAC’s though…

Ironic. Your trainers are wired for armaments, but your Government won’t allow it, even in a training capacity, but will allow ours to train your people, because they need to be so trained, even though ours can’t be wired so…

 

south

Well-Known Member
Interesting your Government will allow RAAF PC-21’s to deploy to NZ to train your own JTAC’s though…

Ironic. Your trainers are wired for armaments, but your Government won’t allow it, even in a training capacity, but will allow ours to train your people, because they need to be so trained, even though ours can’t be wired so…

It’s more probable that there aren’t a) enough spare hours in the T-6 fleet and b) FAC-A/attack qualified pilots in the RNZAF.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
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It’s more probable that there aren’t a) enough spare hours in the T-6 fleet and b) FAC-A/attack qualified pilots in the RNZAF.
Yep, they clearly haven’t planned for it (which is a disgrace IMHO) but it’s ironic they already have the near perfect aircraft for, it regardless of this situation…
 

Massive

Active Member
Article from ABDR about how to quickly improve Australia strike capabilities, possibly written by a Boeing guy! The quickest way to more range and lethality for the ADF is a bigger Air Force | ADBR
This does broadly make sense to me.

To significantly build up defence capability in a 5 to 7-year time frame then this will largely happen in the airforce & army given the time it tales to get new ships into service.

Question would be does the airforce have sufficient pilots & ground crew to operate the new airframes.

General Molan argues for a 3-5 year time frame - so shorter than that proposed by the authors. The outcome of the defence review currently underway will be interesting - particularly in terms of how the current environment is assessed, and the response - particularly across the 3, 5 & 7 year horizons.

Regards,

Massive
 

Arclighy

Member
Article from ABDR about how to quickly improve Australia strike capabilities, possibly written by a Boeing guy! The quickest way to more range and lethality for the ADF is a bigger Air Force | ADBR
An interesting read. One aircraft that isn't mentioned in the article is the E-7A Wedgetail. The RAAF currently operates 6 of these aircraft and from all accounts they are a tremendous asset and have operated very effectively across a range of mission sets. I would assume an increased number of strike aircraft may require more Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft as well, especially if two or three different areas of operation are required at the same time. Time will tell of course. But I'm afraid time is something that isn't on our side presently. The current Defence review can't come quick enough.
 

ADMk2

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Staff member
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Article from ABDR about how to quickly improve Australia strike capabilities, possibly written by a Boeing guy! The quickest way to more range and lethality for the ADF is a bigger Air Force | ADBR
With all due respect to those fine gentlemen, any expanded RAAF capability, even were we to order off the shelf F/A-18 Super Hornets, let alone F-35's given how their order books are going, would be a minimum of 3 years away from delivery and perhaps 5 years to IOC. This is in no way the "quickest" way to enhance ADF strike, lethality or range. This is not me saying it shouldn't be done, by the way, merely I'd suggest those gentlemen might have some service bias in that piece...

The quickest way by far to enhance ADF range and lethality is via increased missile stocks and development of alternative launching platforms. China developed it's A2AD concept for a reason, it was the quickest and cheapest way to (potentially) hold enemy forces at bay. So it would be with us.

NASAMS II for example already has the C2 systems, required launch canisters and integration with Army's BMS and AFATDS long ranged fires targetting system to make them capable of employing the Naval Strike Missile. Given IOC for the extant capability with NASAMS II is due in 2023, Army would simply need a stock of NSM's and suddenly our strike range and lethality is already enhanced, before the RAAF aircraft of choice would have even started the production process... We also already, have a manned and trained Regiment for such a capability to be operated from.

Similar with other weapon systems which could be rapidly employed. Mk 41 VLS systems from in-service Army trucks as the US Army / USMC are doing with MRC Typhon via Tomahawk and SM-6 effectors, again integrated with BMS and AFATDS would be far quicker in-service than a new / expanded fighter fleet... Such a capability could easily be employed by a converted GRes artillery unit which would convert to type, rather than be established from the ground up. Would be years quicker than standing up a new RAAF squadron from scratch...
 
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Anthony_B_78

Active Member
With all due respect to those fine gentlemen, any expanded RAAF capability, even were we to order off the shelf F/A-18 Super Hornets, let alone F-35's given how their order books are going, would be a minimum of 3 years away from delivery and perhaps 5 years to IOC. This is in no way the "quickest" way to enhance ADF strike, lethality or range. This is not me saying it shouldn't be done, by the way, merely I'd suggest those gentlemen might have some service bias in that piece...
Headline might be a little clickbaity. There likely are quicker ways, like you say, and similarly the writers are likely fixated on what they know (that service bias in other words). They do say what they propose would take five to seven years, so they're being realistic, yes?

I do wonder whether some incremental improvements wouldn't be a bad investment. Our squadrons are smaller than those in the USAF, for instance. It would seem at least slightly less challenging to achieve some growth in the existing establishments rather than raising new units. The writers here mentioned more MRTTs, while Arclighy mentioned the E-7A. Would even just a few of each added to the inventory, with the personnel and support to match, make a significant difference in terms of operational capabilities? Can the E-7A still be acquired?

As for the pointy end, could more F/A-18Fs / F-35s for existing operational squadrons, again with more aircrew and so forth, deliver a capability increase worth the cost?
 
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ADMk2

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Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Headline might be a little clickbaity. There likely are quicker ways, like you say, and similarly the writers are likely fixated on what they know (that service bias in other words). They do say what they propose would take five to seven years, so they're being realistic, yes?

I do wonder whether some incremental improvements wouldn't be a bad investment. Our squadrons are smaller than those in the USAF, for instance. It would seem at least slightly less challenging to achieve some growth in the existing establishments rather than raising new units. The writers here mentioned more MRTTs, while Arclighy mentioned the E-7A. Would even just a few of each added to the inventory, with the personnel and support to match, make a significant difference in terms of operational capabilities? Can the E-7A still be acquired?

As for the pointy end, could more F/A-18Fs / F-35s for existing operational squadrons, again with more aircrew and so forth, deliver a capability increase worth the cost?
We already have planned growth in airforce “pointy end” under the “Additional Air Combat Capability” phase of NACC, which looks to be a 4th JSF squadron added to the existing Orbat, but might as mentioned by RAAF, be something else…

More E-7’s could be acquired, the UK just ordered 3 and the US is about to order 20-30 of them…

As to those writers being realistic? Well if you ignore the realities of standing up additional RAAF squadrons from scratch and choose to only discuss range rings under ideal scenarios? I guess…

Such things are easy to do. “The Chinese wouldn’t much like it if we put an MRC Typhon Battery firing Block Va Tomahawks and SM-6 Block IA’s into RAAF Butterworth…” for example, but it doesn’t contribute all that much to the overall discussion, IMHO.
 
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Anthony_B_78

Active Member
We already have planned growth in airforce “pointy end” under the “Additional Air Combat Capability” phase of NACC, which looks to be a 4th JSF squadron added to the existing Orbat, but might as mentioned by RAAF, be something else…

More E-7’s could be acquired, the UK just ordered 3 and the US is about to order 20-30 of them…

As to those writers being realistic? Well if you ignore the realities of standing up additional RAAF squadrons from scratch and choose to only discuss range rings under ideal scenarios? I guess…
True. Thanks. And I meant in terms of the five-to-seven-year timeframe they mentioned. They weren't overly specific about standing up new squadrons. Like, more than double as many MRTTs, but could still just be one - albeit bigger - squadron. Similar with strike aircraft, potentially.
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
True. Thanks. And I meant in terms of the five-to-seven-year timeframe they mentioned. They weren't overly specific about standing up new squadrons. Like, more than double as many MRTTs, but could still just be one - albeit bigger - squadron. Similar with strike aircraft, potentially.
Note: I have not read the article yet, just wanted to comment on something to provide a bit of perspective
A timeframe of five to seven years might be possible, OTOH though it also might be simply impossible.

The RAAF were able to stand up 15 operational F/A-18F SHornets roughly 3.5 years after signing a contract ordering 24, but this was only possible for a couple of specific reasons. The first being that the USN was willing to let Australia 'jump ahead' of the order queue and take SHornet production slots meant to fulfill a USN SHornet order. The second is that whilst being different aircraft from the 'Classic' Hornet, there is quite a bit of similarity in terms of both parts and aircraft handling, which enabled expedited training and transition for pilots and ground/support crews. In a time of potentially rising tensions, production slots might be unavailable with long queues existing. Again going back to the RAAF SHornet order, the contract was signed in May, 2007 whilst first flight of the first RAAF SHornet produced was in July 2009, just over two years later. That quick a turnaround between when a fighter contract gets signed, and when first flight for the order takes place, would most likely not happen again any time soon.
 

ddxx

Active Member
In regards to MRTTs as the primary solution to air power projection in our region I just have a couple of questions:

If the distance to the combat area from an Australian mainland base requires a mid-flight refuel, wouldn't you require a huge number of fighters to even sustain a minimal presence in a single area?

E.g. 12 in the combat area, 12 heading to the combat area / refuelling, 12 heading back to base / refuelling, 12 at base? So two squadrons/48 fighters just to have a half squadron/12 fighters on station in one location? Is this about right? Obviously this is even before we consider the number of MRTTs needed to cycle.

Land based fighters + tankers over distance only seem to add up for a strike mission in our region. So who’s providing air cover for our soldiers and ships in multiple locations?
 
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Bob53

Active Member
Picking up on some of the previous clients about additional squadrons. Why can’t additional aircraft be assigned to existing squadrons…eg could a squadron have 30 or 40 airframes? I realise physical limits in regards to infrastructure but is there any limiting factor in keeping squadrons at 20 or 24 aircraft?
 

Anthony_B_78

Active Member
Picking up on some of the previous clients about additional squadrons. Why can’t additional aircraft be assigned to existing squadrons…eg could a squadron have 30 or 40 airframes? I realise physical limits in regards to infrastructure but is there any limiting factor in keeping squadrons at 20 or 24 aircraft?
My understanding is our squadrons have a smaller establishment than, say, USAF squadrons, but similar to, say, RAF ones.

If I recall correctly, the operational squadrons with the F-35 are assigned 14 aircraft each; not sure about pilots, though obviously you'd hope for at least that number.

The USAF has had fighter squadrons with 24 and 18 aircraft respectively. The former was more the rage in the Cold War, and the latter is more recent, seemingly a cost-saving measure. From what I've read, its usual practice is to have 4 pilots for every 3 aircraft, plus the commanding officer (so 33 and 25 respectively).
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Note: I have not read the article yet, just wanted to comment on something to provide a bit of perspective
A timeframe of five to seven years might be possible, OTOH though it also might be simply impossible.

The RAAF were able to stand up 15 operational F/A-18F SHornets roughly 3.5 years after signing a contract ordering 24, but this was only possible for a couple of specific reasons. The first being that the USN was willing to let Australia 'jump ahead' of the order queue and take SHornet production slots meant to fulfill a USN SHornet order. The second is that whilst being different aircraft from the 'Classic' Hornet, there is quite a bit of similarity in terms of both parts and aircraft handling, which enabled expedited training and transition for pilots and ground/support crews. In a time of potentially rising tensions, production slots might be unavailable with long queues existing. Again going back to the RAAF SHornet order, the contract was signed in May, 2007 whilst first flight of the first RAAF SHornet produced was in July 2009, just over two years later. That quick a turnaround between when a fighter contract gets signed, and when first flight for the order takes place, would most likely not happen again any time soon.
Yep, compare that with the US Army’s effort with MRC Typhon and there is zero comparison. A highly mobile strike (and air defence) system able to strike at ranges up to 1800k (unclassified range) or with near hypersonic weapons, designed from scratch utilising in-service weapons, prime movers, trailers and C4I assets and will be deployed in an initial 4x battery strength in under 3 years…

94E797E1-E2A1-4388-97B1-9DAFB2232056.png
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
The F-18 Superhornet line is expected to cease production around 2025.
So if an order was placed, it is entirely conceivable that the planes could be produced, the USN may allow earlier spots, but even if not its not a huge wait. USN is probably happy to delay final plane delivery as long as possible. Certainly a F-18 SH order is more doable in that time frame than F-35. The Swiss order is starting delivery around 2027.

I'm not sure we need more E7's, we already operate quite a large fleet, much larger than UK, Turkey, South Korea (like as big as UK and Turkey combined). Also the US is absolutely desperate for this aircraft so I don't see any other nations pushing in front of the US for that kind of aircraft. However, we should consider upgrading ours with relevant upgrades the US is making to their E7's.

I think its reasonable to order 1-2 extra P8's, delivery and standing them up might be doable. But this is looking like a Boeing sponsored solution event.
General Molan argues for a 3-5 year time frame - so shorter than that proposed by the authors. The outcome of the defence review currently underway will be interesting - particularly in terms of how the current environment is assessed, and the response - particularly across the 3, 5 & 7 year horizons.
The time frame I see commonly is 5 years. 2027. Several countries have started to shift their plans to really put future capabilities in two categories.
pre-2027 and post-2027. Near and far. Taiwan, Japan, South korea etc. The US too. We are seeing plans to more lower priority the long term capabilities and raise the short term capabilities.

As we get closer to 2027, people expect things to unravel. So supply chains will either start to fall apart or become occupied with larger domestic orders. So by 2027 you would really want to be seeing IOC-FOC by then not just a potential delivery date.

Post 2027 is murky. Even if it isn't exactly jan 1 2027 things fall apart, there is now a bit of a line being drawn around capabilities that can be stood up quickly and more longer term strategies.
 

seaspear

Active Member
Would it also be fair to suggest the development and deployment of unmanned systems makes it harder to suggest what is needed?
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
The F-18 Superhornet line is expected to cease production around 2025.
So if an order was placed, it is entirely conceivable that the planes could be produced, the USN may allow earlier spots, but even if not its not a huge wait. USN is probably happy to delay final plane delivery as long as possible. Certainly a F-18 SH order is more doable in that time frame than F-35. The Swiss order is starting delivery around 2027.

As we get closer to 2027, people expect things to unravel. So supply chains will either start to fall apart or become occupied with larger domestic orders. So by 2027 you would really want to be seeing IOC-FOC by then not just a potential delivery date.

Post 2027 is murky. Even if it isn't exactly jan 1 2027 things fall apart, there is now a bit of a line being drawn around capabilities that can be stood up quickly and more longer term strategies.
There is one other possible buyer for the SHornet and that is the Indian Navy, it recently proved it can do short take offs from the Indian Navy STOBAR Carriers, with an USN aircraft using the IN trg facility.
 
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