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

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
The comment made by Marcus Hellyer about the relatively small number of Tritons being acquired is probably a fair point. Potentially a very niche and expensive capability to maintain particularly with so many other expensive acquisitions competing for funding.

To be honest I would have preferred a few extra P8s
About as niche as the 4x MC-55A Peregrines we are acquiring…

The number of UAS are about how many orbits the RAAF need to be able to fly simultaneously and whether they wish to maintain a deployable capability or not.

I suspect 4 is what we need to surveil ‘home waters’ for the duration and coverage we aspire to do and the additional airframes were for a deployable capability.

Perhaps the need to deploy this capability is not as important as other capability, whereas the need to fly ISR over our approaches is, hence the extra aircraft seemingly capped at just one more airframe.

Time will tell.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Italy's buying & converting eight G550 in addition to its current two CAEW. It's reported that some will be more AEW, & others EW & SIGINT.

Israel's doing something similar: adding G550 based EW aircraft to its G550 AEW fleet. Seems to be getting popular.
 

Bob53

Well-Known Member
About as niche as the 4x MC-55A Peregrines we are acquiring…

The number of UAS are about how many orbits the RAAF need to be able to fly simultaneously and whether they wish to maintain a deployable capability or not.

I suspect 4 is what we need to surveil ‘home waters’ for the duration and coverage we aspire to do and the additional airframes were for a deployable capability.

Perhaps the need to deploy this capability is not as important as other capability, whereas the need to fly ISR over our approaches is, hence the extra aircraft seemingly capped at just one more airframe.

Time will tell.
Thought we ordered 5 Peregrines?
 

Anthony_B_78

Active Member
The bad news...

If those additional 2-3 airframes are not ordered, it signals yet another cut to the RAAF this year.

We’ve already seen a reduction in the replacement of C-130J-30 fleet.

The previous LNP Government was investigating a replacement fleet consisting of 24 x C-130J-30 and 6 x KC-130J.

By the time of the DSCA request, the ALP reduced the request to 24 x C-130J-30.

The Government subsequently confirmed 20 airframes on order (a reduction of 4 x C-130J-30 and the 6 x KC-130J never got off the ground).

And lastly the last batch of ‘up to’ an additional 28 x F-35A has been canned too.


Three projects, three cuts?

Am I surprised? No, not one tiny little bit.


We now wait for the RAN review, hmmmm.....
I would argue you cannot call the decision not to exercise an option or to proceed with what one was investigating a "cut". If they're not ordered, if they're not specified as a planned acquisition, only an option, then they're not a cut.

The C-130J-30 is a particularly bad example of a "cut". They represent an increase in capability, remembering the C-17s effectively replaced a squadron of 12 C-130s when they were acquired, and now it looks like we'll have as many C-130s as we ever did, plus the C-17s.

The additional F-35s were an option, but likely the thinking was they would replace the Super Hornet. We're keeping those in service, and have enhanced capabilities with the Growler having been acquired.

There are real cuts that governments - past and present - have, and, will, deserve criticism for. These are not good examples.
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
The RAAF is doing well compared to the other services. Sadly, at the the moment I can’t bring myself to regard the navy as being fit for service and of course the army seems to be taking the brunt as far as cutbacks are concerned.
 

John Newman

The Bunker Group
Not doing what is speculated is not a cut.
The previous govt didn’t order the 2-3 extra Tritons, the current govt has increased the fleet by 25%.
Allegedly investigating buying 30 C130’s is not cutting. The current govt ordered 20 aircraft that were not on order before.
The previous govt didn’t order more F-35’s. The current government hasn’t either. So nothing has changed.
3 projects and 21 new aircraft is what I see. Not surprised at all.
“Not doing what is speculated is ‘not’ a cut”

Speculated? Sorry what?

Please explain what I’ve said is ‘speculated’?

There is NO speculation in what I’ve said.

Maybe you haven’t followed these projects for as long as I have, have you?


Triton

The original plan for Triton was for seven (7) airframes, that was altered to six (6), then it updated as six plus an option for a seventh (6+1).

The previous Government ordering in ‘batches’ in no way reduces the total number planned.

Please explain to me how that is ‘speculation’??

Go do a bit research, hey?


C-130J

Again no speculation on my part, again, do some research, hey?

Yes the previous Government was investigating 30 x C-130J variants... But let’s cut to the chase, the ALP Government put in a DSCA request for 24 x C-130J-30, all on public record, NOT speculation.


Subsequently the ALP Government ordered 20 airframes, NOT the 24 they requested, how is that speculation? How is that not a cut from what they originally requested or been planned?


F-35A

The project for the ‘4th F-35A squadron’ has been an active project since the early 2000s.

It’s gone through many name changes, by the time of the 2020 Force Structure Plan it was known as the ‘Additional Air Combat Capability’ project, the project had a time frame from approx 2026-2031, with a budget allocation of $4.5b-$6.7b.

How is that ‘speculation’?

It was a REAL project, with a REAL budget allocation, Yes??



If you can prove what I’ve said is ‘speculation’ I’ll happily accept it.

Truth is though, there is NO speculation on my behalf.
 

Aardvark144

Active Member
“Not doing what is speculated is ‘not’ a cut”

Speculated? Sorry what?

Please explain what I’ve said is ‘speculated’?

There is NO speculation in what I’ve said.

Maybe you haven’t followed these projects for as long as I have, have you?


Triton

The original plan for Triton was for seven (7) airframes, that was altered to six (6), then it updated as six plus an option for a seventh (6+1).

The previous Government ordering in ‘batches’ in no way reduces the total number planned.

Please explain to me how that is ‘speculation’??

Go do a bit research, hey?


C-130J

Again no speculation on my part, again, do some research, hey?

Yes the previous Government was investigating 30 x C-130J variants... But let’s cut to the chase, the ALP Government put in a DSCA request for 24 x C-130J-30, all on public record, NOT speculation.


Subsequently the ALP Government ordered 20 airframes, NOT the 24 they requested, how is that speculation? How is that not a cut from what they originally requested or been planned?


F-35A

The project for the ‘4th F-35A squadron’ has been an active project since the early 2000s.

It’s gone through many name changes, by the time of the 2020 Force Structure Plan it was known as the ‘Additional Air Combat Capability’ project, the project had a time frame from approx 2026-2031, with a budget allocation of $4.5b-$6.7b.

How is that ‘speculation’?

It was a REAL project, with a REAL budget allocation, Yes??



If you can prove what I’ve said is ‘speculation’ I’ll happily accept it.

Truth is though, there is NO speculation on my behalf.
Perhaps another take on the issue hopefully without causing a hissy fit. Speculation may be a stretch of the imagination however.....

The end state with Triton was always going to be complicated after the US froze funding for 24 months or so which threw the project into turmoil and thus complicated the whole plan to keep in lock step with the USN P8/MQ4 procurement. It now doesn't help that the US has canned the project well before planned.

As for the C130J - who is to say the KC130J will not be a future purchase? DSCA only covered the standard C130J-30 not the KC130J. Whilst the RAAF did originally operate 24 x C130, with the new C130J-30 they will have 20 x C130J-30, 8 x C17 and 7 (maybe 9) KC30 (plus C27), so quite an improvement in airlift capability, sure DSCA notification said 24 but 20 combined with the remain AMG fleet is a pretty good outcome.

With the F35, sure the additional F35s were covered under Air6000 Ph7; however I would hardly call that an 'active' project nor was there any firm timelines. The additional frames were always regarded as a possible future capability repeated in the 2020 FSP; however, originally the Super Hornets were only going to be a bridging Air Combat Capability, now the RAAF is not retiring the F/A-18F as originally muted, plus possessing 12 EA-18G with both platforms keeping in lock step with the USN, why do we need the additional F35s? Let's not forget what the MQ-28 may bring to the table and who is to say we will not get involved in NGAD or it's twin in Europe?
 
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Volkodav

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Perhaps another take on the issue hopefully without causing a hissy fit. Speculation may be a stretch of the imagination however.....

The end state with Triton was always going to be complicated after the US froze funding for 24 months or so which threw the project into turmoil and thus complicated the whole plan to keep in lock step with the USN P8/MQ4 procurement. It now doesn't help that the US has canned the project well before planned.

As for the C130J - who is to say the KC130J will not be a future purchase? DSCA only covered the standard C130J-30 not the KC130J. Whilst the RAAF did originally operate 24 x C130, with the new C130J-30 they will have 20 x C130J-30, 8 x C17 and 7 (maybe 9) KC30 (plus C27), so quite an improvement in airlift capability, sure DSCA notification said 24 but 20 combined with the remain AMG fleet is a pretty good outcome.

With the F35, sure the additional F35s were covered under Air6000 Ph7; however I would hardly call that an 'active' project nor was their any firm timelines. The additional frames were always regarded as a possible future capability repeated in the 2020 FSP; however, originally the Super Hornets were only going to be a bridging Air Combat Capability, now the RAAF is not retiring the F/A-18F as originally muted, plus possessing 12 EA-18G with both platforms keeping in lock step with the USN, why do we need the additional F35s? Let's not forget what the MQ-28 may bring to the table and who is to say we will not get involved in NGAD or it's twin in Europe?
Ghostbat has probably made retaining the F/A-18F more beneficial, being a two seater, it would logically be better suited to serving as the control hub for the UCAVs.

Retaining the Rhinos will also provide a bridge to the next gen air combat capability.
 

Gooey

Well-Known Member
Sorry for fishing but have any forum members seen details of the P-8A updates, announced recently with the 4th Triton?

I've found this, which is suitably vague: "The P-8A Poseidon increment 3 retrofit kits will enable the aircraft to carry the Harpoon Block II+ anti-ship missile and Link 16 datalink, as well as communications upgrades."

 

Gooey

Well-Known Member
Perhaps another take on the issue hopefully without causing a hissy fit. Speculation may be a stretch of the imagination however.....
Any positive view of RAAF tactical air transport capability is somewhat diluted by the saga of the limited-utility (my words) 10 C-27Js which will quite probably be withdrawn from service once the new J's arrive.

Likewise, that C-17A and KC-30A are strategic assets whose capability were previously sorely missing from our ORBAT.

Finally, for an island continent in the INDOPACOM theatre we seem to be also missing helicopter refueling despite our awesome Jointness; something that the KC-130J would have corrected.

Air6000 Ph7 was both a real thing in RAAF planning and very necessary to fill out existing capabilities, provide additional robustness, and attrition. My ten cents of crystal ball gazing is that the coming PLA-AF kinetic contest will not be over in 100 hours/6 days. EF-18G is absolutely critical and F/A-18F does the long range AGM thing while F-35A Block 4 is being sorted out. I am guessing that the MQ-28 are more of a flying Towed Radar Decoy than truely additional fast air.

NGAD or Tempest is crazy talk at this stage.
 

Maranoa

Active Member
NGAD or Tempest is crazy talk at this stage.
I agree, we have seen so many programs with cool acronyms and even cooler 'digital renditions' of sci fi airframes come to nothing over the years with hardstands still full of F-16 era airframes that made their first trips to Australia during the Whitlam Government in the mid 1970s.
 

Aardvark144

Active Member
Any positive view of RAAF tactical air transport capability is somewhat diluted by the saga of the limited-utility (my words) 10 C-27Js which will quite probably be withdrawn from service once the new J's arrive.

Likewise, that C-17A and KC-30A are strategic assets whose capability were previously sorely missing from our ORBAT.

Finally, for an island continent in the INDOPACOM theatre we seem to be also missing helicopter refueling despite our awesome Jointness; something that the KC-130J would have corrected.

Air6000 Ph7 was both a real thing in RAAF planning and very necessary to fill out existing capabilities, provide additional robustness, and attrition. My ten cents of crystal ball gazing is that the coming PLA-AF kinetic contest will not be over in 100 hours/6 days. EF-18G is absolutely critical and F/A-18F does the long range AGM thing while F-35A Block 4 is being sorted out. I am guessing that the MQ-28 are more of a flying Towed Radar Decoy than truely additional fast air.

NGAD or Tempest is crazy talk at this stage.
Never said AIR6000 Ph7 was not real, it was just not relevant anymore seeing as we are keeping the F/A-18F long-term, hence the relevance/need for the additional F35s which Ph7 had them as potential replacements for the Bridging Air Combat Capability was no longer applicable.

NGAD and Tempest is crazy talk at this stage. Is it? I am not saying we need to make a firm commitment; however, you might want to correct CAF then. RAAF has started looking at beyond the F35 -

 
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MickB

Active Member
“Not doing what is speculated is ‘not’ a cut”

Speculated? Sorry what?

Please explain what I’ve said is ‘speculated’?

There is NO speculation in what I’ve said.

Maybe you haven’t followed these projects for as long as I have, have you?


Triton

The original plan for Triton was for seven (7) airframes, that was altered to six (6), then it updated as six plus an option for a seventh (6+1).

The previous Government ordering in ‘batches’ in no way reduces the total number planned.

Please explain to me how that is ‘speculation’??

Go do a bit research, hey?


C-130J

Again no speculation on my part, again, do some research, hey?

Yes the previous Government was investigating 30 x C-130J variants... But let’s cut to the chase, the ALP Government put in a DSCA request for 24 x C-130J-30, all on public record, NOT speculation.


Subsequently the ALP Government ordered 20 airframes, NOT the 24 they requested, how is that speculation? How is that not a cut from what they originally requested or been planned?


F-35A

The project for the ‘4th F-35A squadron’ has been an active project since the early 2000s.

It’s gone through many name changes, by the time of the 2020 Force Structure Plan it was known as the ‘Additional Air Combat Capability’ project, the project had a time frame from approx 2026-2031, with a budget allocation of $4.5b-$6.7b.

How is that ‘speculation’?

It was a REAL project, with a REAL budget allocation, Yes??



If you can prove what I’ve said is ‘speculation’ I’ll happily accept it.

Truth is though, there is NO speculation on my behalf.
It is my understanding that the "Additional Air Combat Capability" project never stated which type of platform was to be purchased.
Many assumed it meant additional F35s, but it could mean many other things to the GOTD.

It could be MQ 28s for teaming with existing fighters, or something like the AT-6 if expecting China sponsered insurgences in the Indopacific.
Perhaps light fighters like the FA-50 to serve as an attack aircraft after air defences are breached. Being a 2 seater the FA-50 could also be adapted to controling MQ-28s.
(A joint buy to get NZ back into fast jets)

Or whatever the GOTD decides is the right idea.
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Sorry for fishing but have any forum members seen details of the P-8A updates, announced recently with the 4th Triton?

I've found this, which is suitably vague: "The P-8A Poseidon increment 3 retrofit kits will enable the aircraft to carry the Harpoon Block II+ anti-ship missile and Link 16 datalink, as well as communications upgrades."

I think this brings them in line with the RNZAF P-8s. FWIU the RNZAF P-8s are the latest iteration and they will be replaced as such by the next order for whatever country, bar India. The RNZAF P-8A is stock standard. The Pom ones are pretty new too but AKAIK they have some Pom specific modifications. IIRC the P-8 is a spiral upgrade capability.
Perhaps light fighters like the FA-50 to serve as an attack aircraft after air defences are breached. Being a 2 seater the FA-50 could also be adapted to controling MQ-28s.
(A joint buy to get NZ back into fast jets)

Or whatever the GOTD decides is the right idea.
I / when the RNZAF get fast jets again, the FA-50 would definitely be a starter as far as I am concerned.
 

Bob53

Well-Known Member
Sorry for fishing but have any forum members seen details of the P-8A updates, announced recently with the 4th Triton?

I've found this, which is suitably vague: "The P-8A Poseidon increment 3 retrofit kits will enable the aircraft to carry the Harpoon Block II+ anti-ship missile and Link 16 datalink, as well as communications upgrades."

The anti ship missile is the LRASM. Link 16 allows the aircraft to send and receive encrypted comms and targeting data from other Link 16 equipped platforms…eg targeting data could be sent to a F18 carry a ASM. Or alternately targeting data could be sent to a P8. harpoon is self explanatory I think. I’m nit sure what else is included in the upgrades.
 

Bob53

Well-Known Member
I agree, we have seen so many programs with cool acronyms and even cooler 'digital renditions' of sci fi airframes come to nothing over the years with hardstands still full of F-16 era airframes that made their first trips to Australia during the Whitlam Government in the mid 1970s.
I think anything that improves the current fleet ..enablers …eyes and ears and early warning, Triton, P8 (- would more be plausible?) 1-2 more Peregrine, long range weapons when available aim260, LRASMER, HARM-ER, additional refuelling capability would be of more value in the shorter term than additional, airframes….assuming the 36 F18s are retained. And any capabilities that the MQ28 brings to the table in numbers will possibly be more economical in both Air to Air and strike. Add to that more air defence systems and anti drone platforms for the northern bases. Protect what we have. Would hate to see a chunk of our small fleet destroyed in the ground.
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
Ghostbat has probably made retaining the F/A-18F more beneficial, being a two seater, it would logically be better suited to serving as the control hub for the UCAVs.

Retaining the Rhinos will also provide a bridge to the next gen air combat capability.
Frankly I think there are a lot of benefits of operating aircraft such as the Rhino compared to the F-35. First of all it is cheaper. It reputedly cost $US40,000 an hour to operate the F-35 vs about half that number for the F-18.

Then of course there is the acquisition cost. We already own a fleet of F-18s.

As for the rest. Well not every mission requires the degree of stealth provided by the F-35 and in fact some missions may actually be better performed by the Rhinos.

Thing is that the Rhinos continue to do all that is required of them and if there are any spare dollars available then I would prefer they were spent elsewhere.

Having said that I would be happy to see an expansion of the F-35 fleet. An extra squadron wouldn’t go awry.
 

76mmGuns

Active Member

Triton numbers being cut from 70 to 27, in the USA. Keep an eye out to see if it affects Australia in costs and spares.
 

south

Well-Known Member
The biggest single thanks that I have is that the RAAF (and Army) doesn’t have to try and reinvent the wheel, and have a “sovereign build capacity”.

Praise the lord. It’s kept the RAAF thread to 9k posts in the same time the two RAN threads (absent seperate LHD, SSN and AWD threads) have clicked over 37k.

there’s also a similarity ratio in Air “experts” to Naval “experts” as per the thread ratios.
 
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