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SuperHornets/Four Corners Story

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Saw this the other night, not bad. The interviewees are all very respectable too...

(Flying Blind, on the top left of the screen)

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/special_eds...ets/default.htm

 

Hugh White and Koop know their sh*t. I'm surprised it's taken this long for them to get noticed... but then again I guess it's election time here and every three years, nothing happens until now...

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I was unaware Australia had decided to by Supa Hornets. Poor choice when you consider all that's available in the fighter market these days.

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I was unaware Australia had decided to by Supa Hornets. Poor choice when you consider all that's available in the fighter market these days.

 

What do you think the right choice would have been ? Based on their spending budget and requirement's. For some reason I doubt that the RAAF is going to go the European route, the Mirage III probably being their last purchase from that continent, just a guess, I could be waaay of the mark. :dntknw:

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Was there any mention of the RAAF picking a poor air to air missile design as their new IR AAM? The RAAF purchased the BAE AIM-132 ASRAAM to replace the Sidewinders.

 

As far as I know the German IRIS-T, US AIM-9X and the Israeli Python 4/5 are significantly better in performance, especially when going against AA-11/HMS-equiped MiG-29's and Su-27/30's that are equiping our neighbours up north.

 

It's all about jobs and politics. Companies like Boeing and BAE have factories here in Australia. And we have an election coming up too.

 

Australian shipbuilders recently won contracts to produce 4 DDG's (Guided Missile Destroyers/Air Warfare Destroyers) and 2 LHD (Amphibious Assault Ships). These designs are spanish in origin, but they won out because the spanish companies that design and build those ships are letting us build them in Australia. The other competitors did not allow that, so they lost. It didn't matter if they had better, more combat proven designs. The decision for these assets was approved not too long ago this year.

 

And Australia will never get anything from France. We still remember their threats to us to cut off all technical and spares support if we deployed our Mirage 3's to Vietnam. That is why the Mirage 2000 did not come close to being a competitor in the 1980's competition to replace the earlier Mirages. Eventually we bought the F/A-18A Hornet.

Edited by MiGMasher

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What do you think the right choice would have been ? Based on their spending budget and requirement's. For some reason I doubt that the RAAF is going to go the European route, the Mirage III probably being their last purchase from that continent, just a guess, I could be waaay of the mark. :dntknw:

 

Block 60+ F-16s would have been a better choice IMO. F-15Es would have been better. They didn't have to buy Eurofighters or F-22s. Virtually all 3rd generation contemporaries of the Supa Hornet are superior in every respect.

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Block 60+ F-16s would have been a better choice IMO. F-15Es would have been better. They didn't have to buy Eurofighters or F-22s. Virtually all 3rd generation contemporaries of the Supa Hornet are superior in every respect.

 

F-16 Blk 60 purchase would stuff up Lockheed Martin's JSF program. They want to sell as many as they can, and if they lose out on contracts the price would inevitably go up. In any case, according to the TV program, the JSF project is already experiencing cost overruns.

 

I agree that the Strike Eagle would have been a very good purchase decision but the F-15E is considered "old school", for lack of a better term, by the current hacks in the RAAF and the Defence Department. Plus, despite being a Boeing Product it is the Super Hornet that Boeing really wants to sell. And sell they did.

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F-16 Blk 60 purchase would stuff up Lockheed Martin's JSF program. They want to sell as many as they can, and if they lose out on contracts the price would inevitably go up. In any case, according to the TV program, the JSF project is already experiencing cost overruns.

 

I agree that the Strike Eagle would have been a very good purchase decision but the F-15E is considered "old school", for lack of a better term, by the current hacks in the RAAF and the Defence Department. Plus, despite being a Boeing Product it is the Super Hornet that Boeing really wants to sell. And sell they did.

 

 

OK, but none of that changes the fact that both aircraft would have been superior. Lockheed would have sold some more F-16s. ;)

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OK, but none of that changes the fact that both aircraft would have been superior. Lockheed would have sold some more F-16s. ;)

 

Yep definitely, they without a doubt are superior! Lockheed in the short term certainly wouldn't lose out. However Lockheed would prefer to sell the JSF over the F-16 (too much money and time invested and in need of getting returns), just like Boeing desperately wanting to sell its Super Hornet to other buyers.

 

I had a feeling that we were going for the Super Hornets, since our air force is already familiar with the earlier legacy hornet. It would be a relatively smooth transition. However it will never match the F-111's strike capability. I hate "New Toy" syndrome, if you know what I mean. It's an epidemic in our armed forces IMHO. I don't know about the others if they have the same problem...

 

I remember a quotation from a RAAF officer in the 1980's, in saying how the RAAF really wanted the F-15 Eagle. At the time though the Strike Eagle wasn't out yet and the department felt the Eagle was too pricey and too specialised an airframe. Makes me wonder what could have been if we had waited. The F-16 lost out because it was a single-engine fighter, and did not at the time posess an all-weather nav/targeting capability, despite the fact that it was 7% cheaper than the F/A-18A (according to Lou Drendal in his book on the Hornet ).

Edited by MiGMasher

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I think the F-15E would've been too pricey for the number of airframes bought back in the 80s when the Hornet won.

 

While Oz is getting the F-35 (at least, that is the current plan) to replace the Hornet, there's no doubt it can't replace an F-111. I think right now there are only 4 choices for that category (discounting the F-22 because it's so costly and no exports have been granted yet):

F-15E(A) -- for Australia :wink: --probably seen as too old a design for the price?

Super Bug -- what they picked

Mirage 2000 -- as mentioned, won't happen for political reasons

Su-30 -- probably also ruled out on both political and logistical reasons

 

The Typhoon isn't yet multirole enough and likely also costs a bit more. All other new-gen fighters have too little range/payload.

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I think the F-15E would've been too pricey for the number of airframes bought back in the 80s when the Hornet won.

 

While Oz is getting the F-35 (at least, that is the current plan) to replace the Hornet, there's no doubt it can't replace an F-111. I think right now there are only 4 choices for that category (discounting the F-22 because it's so costly and no exports have been granted yet):

F-15E(A) -- for Australia :wink: --probably seen as too old a design for the price?

Super Bug -- what they picked

Mirage 2000 -- as mentioned, won't happen for political reasons

Su-30 -- probably also ruled out on both political and logistical reasons

 

The Typhoon isn't yet multirole enough and likely also costs a bit more. All other new-gen fighters have too little range/payload.

 

what they could have done is lease something in the interim until what they wanted got cheap enough and on schedule to procure. But that doesn't help the off-set issue which is a killer in any international sales effort. If you can't get some local production run, you don't win the contract. Off-sets will trump military capability.

 

"I hate "New Toy" syndrome, if you know what I mean. It's an epidemic in our armed forces IMHO. I don't know about the others if they have the same problem..."

 

it is endemic and pandemic on a global scale............

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Only reason I would think that the RAAF would have chosen the Super Bug is becuase they already use Legacy Bugs. If I were the head of the RAAF MOD I would have bought the F-15E (or even Tornado) to replace the F-111C. The day the last of the 'Varks are gone is the day General Dynamic, or what ever is left of it in Lockheed, dies.

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I think the F-15E would've been too pricey for the number of airframes bought back in the 80s when the Hornet won.

 

While Oz is getting the F-35 (at least, that is the current plan) to replace the Hornet, there's no doubt it can't replace an F-111. I think right now there are only 4 choices for that category (discounting the F-22 because it's so costly and no exports have been granted yet):

F-15E(A) -- for Australia :wink: --probably seen as too old a design for the price?

Super Bug -- what they picked

Mirage 2000 -- as mentioned, won't happen for political reasons

Su-30 -- probably also ruled out on both political and logistical reasons

 

The Typhoon isn't yet multirole enough and likely also costs a bit more. All other new-gen fighters have too little range/payload.

 

 

Well...I guess that's the point. The Supa Hornet can't replace the F-111, because it can't do what the F-111 does. Just like it can't do what the F-14 and A-6 did. It can't really even do what the legacy Hornet does because its A2A performance is poorer, according to all accounts.

 

I suppose it is good at dropping GPS-guided bombs on targets in Afghanistan where there is 0 air opposition and minimal threat of SAMs. But when we finally do Iran...I am afraid for our Naval Aviators. I know they will be the better pilots in the conflict, but their equipment...

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Well...I guess that's the point. The Supa Hornet can't replace the F-111, because it can't do what the F-111 does. Just like it can't do what the F-14 and A-6 did. It can't really even do what the legacy Hornet does because its A2A performance is poorer, according to all accounts.

 

I suppose it is good at dropping GPS-guided bombs on targets in Afghanistan where there is 0 air opposition and minimal threat of SAMs. But when we finally do Iran...I am afraid for our Naval Aviators. I know they will be the better pilots in the conflict, but their equipment...

 

Yeah. But I guess that if an Iraqi MiG-21 was able to kill an Iranian F-14 then who knows.

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Yeah. But I guess that if an Iraqi MiG-21 was able to kill an Iranian F-14 then who knows.

 

any airplane, and pilot, can fall to any other airplane, and pilot in any individual engagement. But as a general rule, one would have to compare the aircraft, weapons, pilots, training, doctrine and tactics to make an operational campaign type assessment. I would not, for example, use the example of one Mig-21 taking out an F-14, or for that matter one F/A-18F taking out an F/A-22, to make a general assessment as the relative merits of different air forces.

 

the point is well taken that the F-18E/F has some significant issues as a long range strike aircraft with air to air capabilities against a modern, well-equiped air force. Were I in the position of the Chief of the RAAF making that call, I don't think I'd have taken the F-18E/F as a good replacement for the long range F-111 strike capability.

 

How many squadrons of tankers is the RAAF buying to keep the Super Hornets in the air?

 

:wink:

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How many squadrons of tankers is the RAAF buying to keep the Super Hornets in the air?

 

:wink:

I can't remember the exact number but it's 4-5 Airbus tankers and 4 (plus 2 options) Wedgetail AWACS. The real question is, how close are they going to have to be to the AO? :nono:

 

As for specific Pig replacements, probably only 3 aircraft on the market can fit that role, those being the F-15E family, the Su-34 and the Su-24. Now Australia won't buy Russian for several reasons but mostly because we're (historically) a purchaser of European/American systems and the political doctrine of having the highest ability to integrate with US forces (thus meaning to have compatible weapons systems).

Many in the AF were surprised the Strike Eagle wasn't considered as it seemed to many as the logical choice and there was a pretty favourable lend-lease arrangement deal on the table as of 2001 which, from my experience, was reasonably popular with the RAAF but less so politically. The Eurofighter wouldn't have been chosen simply because current thinking is "if we're going to spend AUD $100 Mil + (which we can't afford anyhow) on a new platform, it better be Gen 5 state of the art." Rafael may have been considered, the RAAF has no issues with Dassault or the French per se, but politically, the relationship has been a little bumpy yet, still better than the one with Boeing! AFAIK, the F-16 was last offered in the early 80s as a mirage replacement (along with the F-15) and it wasn't offered this time because LM was garnering support for the JSF. And Dept of Defence will rarely buy new toys off the shelf (the PC-9s, Hawk 127s and SuperBugs are the obvious exceptions).

 

The biggest concern overall by the ADF (over the past few years at least) is that there has been less consultation with military officials and an increasing participation of lobby groups. Several decisions have been made without the participation of the ADF, particularly with the decision to be involved with the F-35 and the replacement options for the Pig, but also with the introduction of stand off weapons. The RAAF knows that employing JASSM (and our longer range variant) and potentially JASSOW will significantly enhance strike options, however they're a bit annoyed that the platform to be used seemed to be arbitrarily decided. The current plan is to have Bug/SuperBug wings and AP-3C Orions take over the long range strike roles until the F-35 is delivered. This is very much a "last option" stop gap. Neither have what you could call "dash speed". And it doesn't help that there's a general ignorance of the Su-30MK series coupled with the thinking that stealth is a panacea...

 

 

Also one other thing. A couple of years ago when this pig:

1807_fighter_a.jpg

 

landed wheels up due to a landing gear malfunction, the entire fleet was grounded until the fault was found. If we're replacing all Pigs, Hornets and eventually Super Hornets with the JSF, and there's a JSF accident. What do we do when the whole fleet gets grounded...?

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I've noticed that when the Aussies have a problem with the Pig they ground the fleet. Wouldn't that mean that they still have a good amount of hours left and why not just buy new F-111s from AMARC? That would probobly be the most cost effective way to maintain a "Dash" capability and not have to train pilots that used to fly Pigs on a new fancy over expensive machine.

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I've noticed that when the Aussies have a problem with the Pig they ground the fleet. Wouldn't that mean that they still have a good amount of hours left and why not just buy new F-111s from AMARC? That would probobly be the most cost effective way to maintain a "Dash" capability and not have to train pilots that used to fly Pigs on a new fancy over expensive machine.

 

There are well over 300 airframes in AMARC in Arizona (I think) that are in great condition that the RAAF buys and canibalises for parts. However, there's been a fear campaign from the current administration suggesting that the condition of the F-111s is quite poor and that parts are rare and maintenance costs are skyrocketing. This is partly to support funding for the JSF since early retirement of the F-111 would help pave the way for a JSF introduction in 2014 (as opposed to 2018/2019), assuming LM can keep their end of the deal and deliver them on time.

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I read somewhere a while ago that the Aussies were interested in the X-32 even after it lost to the X-35, guess that didn't pan out.

 

Wishful thinking makes me feel a resurrected super tomcat for Australia might work, though it would be expensive. It was afterall designed to make up for the F-111 program's shortcomings. And so many people really want to still see her around, the RAAF is a noble place for her.

 

Or perhaps the Tornado? But thats kind of old as well.

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There are well over 300 airframes in AMARC in Arizona (I think) that are in great condition that the RAAF buys and canibalises for parts. However, there's been a fear campaign from the current administration suggesting that the condition of the F-111s is quite poor and that parts are rare and maintenance costs are skyrocketing. This is partly to support funding for the JSF since early retirement of the F-111 would help pave the way for a JSF introduction in 2014 (as opposed to 2018/2019), assuming LM can keep their end of the deal and deliver them on time.

 

 

Administrations have the habit of overstating the problems with the current fleet, to get it modernized. (All pushed by lobbiests of course.)

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Always politics hehe.

 

We bought the EuroTiger LAH to appease the european market, and also because it suited the regional warfare, and more than likely the fact we got the licence to build the thing in Australia. It's the reason the army opted for the Steyr Aug. Colt wouldn't let us buy the licence for the M4 and build it in Australia so another choice was needed.

 

I'm not a fan of the F-35, but Australia will never buy Russian, damn shame tbh. The idea of going past Amberly and seeing Su 30's taking off would be verrah noice

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Funny that you mention the Tomcat for the RAAF. When I drew the upgraded Tomcats in my gallery here, I had that exact same thought. The RAAF was the second (after the USN) country-specific version I drew. The pic's been updated since I mentioned it in the Super Hornet vs Tomcat thread.

 

http://forum.combatace.com/index.php?autom...si&img=3976

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I read somewhere a while ago that the Aussies were interested in the X-32 even after it lost to the X-35, guess that didn't pan out.

 

I'm sure the people at Boeing would have been happy to develop the X-32 into a combat aircraft for Australia...but something tells me that would have been quite expensive.

Edited by Gocad

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why not just buy new F-111s from AMARC?

The RAAF F-111s had significant mid-life upgrades made to them.

Having to do all that to "new" old airframes again may not be cost effective.

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The Su-24 is the same age as the F-111. Long out of production, it will be replaced by the Su-34. No one is buying Fencers anymore. :grin:

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The Su-24 is the same age as the F-111. Long out of production, it will be replaced by the Su-34. No one is buying Fencers anymore. :grin:

 

 

Except Iran. Curios but do Aussie F-111s still use TF30s?

Edited by JA 37 Viggen

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