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MAKO69

Option for RNZAF's new strike fighter

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OK peeps,

 

I would like to start this topic. If you were able to lobby the NZ Govt on behalf of the RNZAF what platform would you recomened and what facts, statements, and arguments would you make to back up your choice. A little history if you are not familiar with the RNZAF they have no strike fighter capability. In 2001 the Labour Government removed the RNZAF air combat capability by cancelling the purchase of 28 Block 15 F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters and disbanding the No 2 and No 75 A-4K KAHU Skyhawk squadrons and the No 14 Aermacchi training squadron. Most of the RNZAF's fighter pilots subsequently left New Zealand to serve in the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Air Force. Keep in mind you have to convince the Labour party why they need such an aircraft. I'll play the role of the Defense Minister. Use your imagination. Remember it has to be cost effective, multi role capable, and a proven platform. Now go do your homework.

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Grippen OK.

 

A nice plane at 40 to 60 million US (48 to 72 NZD) per unit cost, can we afford it? Does it have to be a new plane. We would like to get more than 1.

Edited by MAKO69

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F/A-18E, with working out a joint program with Australia to assist in maintenence and training. 12 airframes should provide more capablity than what was had with all airframes prior to the strike fighter drawdown and provide for homeland defense while being able to draw on Australian and USN assistance if deployed abroad.

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At the end of the 1990's when the RNZAF planed on replacing the Skyhawks with the F-16's the three designated roles for the air combat force were, close air support,

air interdiction and maritime strike.

 

New Zealand was not a country that saw itself carrying out the first attack missions of an air campaign such as strategic strike and counter-air roles. Restricting the application of force solely to targets of direct relevance to on-going military operations was more consistent with New Zealand's national philosophy and thus an emphasis was placed on close air support and air interdiction.

 

A maritime strike capability was considered important as a deterrent against low-level security challenges and resource protection, and would be of high utility in the event of a serious degradation in New Zealand's security circumstances, because it would almost inevitably involve indirect or direct sea borne threats.

 

I think these reasons and roles would still be valid today and would form the basic requirements of any air combat force the RNZAF would look to operate. The main variation would be a larger emphasis placed on precision close air support owing to the lessons learned in Afghanistan and Iraqi.

 

Cost would be the primary factor in selecting an aircraft that met the Defence forces requirements which would be: Multi-role, light weight, proven off the shelf aircraft, capable of supersonic flight (a lesson learnt operating the sub sonic Skyhawks), single engined (cheaper to operate and maintain etc), single crewed (pilots are often expensive and scarce resource for small air forces), credible self defence capability, a multi role radar capable of maritime search, in flight air refuelling, ability to be integrated into a allied/ NATO air wing, modern ECM, ability to self designate laser guided weapons, compatible with modern precision guided weapons including a stand off anti-shipping missile.

 

Given these requirements the only off the shelf options would be the F-16C/D or the JAS39C/D Gripen. Either one would have to be purchased as a package with a stand off anti-shipping weapon, a self defence short range air-to-air guided weapon, precision guided weapons suitable for close air support and hardened targets, a laser targeting pod. Purchase of the F-16C/D would also require a ECM pod as part of the package.

 

Cost wise the F-16C/D is cheaper at around 31.1 million USD. Its wide spread use among other nations means it is a combat proven design with a large support and spares network behind it and can easily be integrated in to any future coalition air wing etc.

 

These would be the swaying factors for the F-16C/D Block 50/52 Plus as the choice for a new RNZAF air combat force.

Edited by dtmdragon

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daddyairplanes,

 

At $66.9 million US per plane thats over 800 millin US (981595200NZD) I'm afraid this option as it my be a great platform It's just to costly and the politicians will not like this plan.

 

dtmdragon,

 

I like what your saying The F-16C/D option looks good, however how many units would you propose.

 

What about pre-owned strike fighters, a lot of fighters coming on the market now. Is there a trainer platform that can do both jobs? The RAAF has the Bae Hawk Mk 127 which is used for lead in training for the Hornet, but has a defense and strike capability.

 

Edited by MAKO69

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There are going to be a lot more used late-model F-16s out there as the F-35A enters service. I would think there would be some good deals on them, or at worst on some MLU'd F-16s from Europe.

 

I agree NZ likely couldn't afford anything new in significant numbers (ie "enough to be useful") and therefore used 4th-gen planes would be the best bet. There's also the option of used legacy Hornets.

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Lower timed Legacy Hornets would be nice, but the F-16 option would be most cost effective and to maintain. A combination of Falcons and T,F/A-50s would be nice too.

Edited by MAKO69

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My first choice would be to put the money into activating the Skyhawks again. The Kahu was extremely capable for it's age, but too much time has elapsed. The airframes were left out in the weather, poorly protected. So...

 

Purchase the soon-to-be-sold F-5s from Switzerland, as they get the Gripen. The F-5 gives you economy and a swing role fighter. Nothing cosmic.

 

What about the first Tranche Typhoons? The RAF has already said they will purchase later Tranche jets instead of upgrading the earlier jets. Might be some bargains.

 

The Luftwaffe are scrapping many of their Tornado IDS'. Another cheap option.

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In order to get it past the NZ government - I'd suggest a couple of Cessna 172's.

 

They're Skyhawks, after all................

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Sir,

 

I have said this before in these forums, but I am afraid it is getting more urgent now: although nothing is officially known yet, there will be huge spending reductions in the Netherland in order to comply with the rules on deficit of the European Union. Of course, one of the first possibilities is Defence.

My estimate is that Leeuwarden AB is going to be closed and at least 2 squadrons of F 16's will be disbanded. Ergo: anything up to 36 well maintained MLU's are available with plenty of spare parts and weapons, AND Sir, a sufficient number of well trained and experienced pilots (including weapon and flying instructors) ground personnel and anything you need to set up a complete airbase as far as necessary..

All the personel mentioned above would love to emigrate to Kiwiland instead of flying desks, be fired anyway or becoming civilians, same as the NZ personel emigrated after the Strike Wing was so elegantly discarded of by one of your predecessors. Multi role supersonic planes, avionics comparable to Block 50-52 , and personnel also able to help set up training facilities for NZ pilots for the years to come to work in the direction of an all Kiwi force in the future. So not too much initial costs..........

And, Minister, as this is the seond round of reductions within one year, if you might need anything for the Navy (couple of frigates, brand new) or the Army (about 60 Leopards II A6, some Patriots or whatever), just let us know too.....

We are very sorry that we already gave our Orions away, but, as an extra if you need a huge amount of seond hand speed camera's and devices like that for your police, a phone call is sufficient, as, notwithstanding reductions on everything else, there are of course plentifull funds for new stuff of that kind for the police (where would a country be without speeding tickets) , so the somewhat older hardware (maximum 2 years or so) is very cheaply available ............

 

I have the honour to be , sir,

 

Your obedient,

 

Derk

Edited by Derk

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My first choice would be to put the money into activating the Skyhawks again. The Kahu was extremely capable for it's age, but too much time has elapsed. The airframes were left out in the weather, poorly protected. So...

 

Purchase the soon-to-be-sold F-5s from Switzerland, as they get the Gripen. The F-5 gives you economy and a swing role fighter. Nothing cosmic.

 

What about the first Tranche Typhoons? The RAF has already said they will purchase later Tranche jets instead of upgrading the earlier jets. Might be some bargains.

 

The Luftwaffe are scrapping many of their Tornado IDS'. Another cheap option.

 

Those skyhawks have been out in the elements for a decade now and NZ Airforce officilas have already stated that those planes are unsalvagable.

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Those skyhawks have been out in the elements for a decade now and NZ Airforce officilas have already stated that those planes are unsalvagable.

 

I acknowledged that in my first statement:

"The Kahu was extremely capable for it's age, but too much time has elapsed. The airframes were left out in the weather, poorly protected. So..."

 

Such blatant waste of valuable resources. Those aircraft could have been saved.

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I would be looking at TA-50s - modern day F-5 and far more capable than the A-4 IMO - not proven but definitely worth a look.

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I would be looking at TA-50s - modern day F-5 and far more capable than the A-4 IMO - not proven but definitely worth a look.

 

I was thinking the same thing after watching the RoKAF Demo video in another thread.

 

They might be out of their price range though.

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I was thinking the same thing after watching the RoKAF Demo video in another thread.

 

They might be out of their price range though.

 

The Black Eagles demo team vid I posted. I think a squadron of F-16 and two or three T/FA-50 would be the perfect combination.

Edited by MAKO69

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dtmdragon,

 

I like what your saying The F-16C/D option looks good, however how many units would you propose.

 

What about pre-owned strike fighters, a lot of fighters coming on the market now. Is there a trainer platform that can do both jobs? The RAAF has the Bae Hawk Mk 127 which is used for lead in training for the Hornet, but has a defense and strike capability.

 

 

In terms of units required a single full strength squadron has been considered appropriate in the past for the requirements of the New Zealand Defense force, taking into account its size, budget, and New Zealand's national philosophy.

 

I propose 18x F-16C and 6x F-16D

 

I don't think a second hand aircraft is a wise long term choice because of the lower fatigue life the airframes and engines will have along with higher maintenance levels. Given the history of the A-4K Skyhawk in RNZAF service* It is likely the RNZAF will squeeze as long a service life as possible from any new combat aircraft before it has to replace it. So although a fleet of brand new aircraft will cost more to purchase it will be able to be upgraded and kept in service for a much longer period than a second hand fleet which already has' miles on the clock.'

 

*The A-4K Skyhawk entered RNZAF service in 1971, they were upgraded to modern standards in 1986 (Project Kahu) and retired in 2001. A further upgrade was originally planned for the year 2000 (Kahu II) to keep them in service till their originally planned replacement in about 2007-9 which was the plan before the canned 1999 F-16A/B lease deal and eventual total scrapping of the air combat wing in 2001.

 

One of the main factors highlighted in the RNZAF Skyhawk replacement plan was the unsuitability of subsonic aircraft (such as the Skyhawk) in modern and future air warfare. So that would rule out most trainer platforms such as the BAE Hawk etc

 

One possible way to help spread out the costs of a new air combat wing would be to take delivery of the aircraft in stages spread out over a few years with the delivery of the two seater D models first so operational conversion could begin.

 

Also I don't believe a twin engine aircraft (new or secondhand) is a viable solution due to the increased maintenance time and operating costs above and over what a single engine lightweight fighter requires.

Edited by dtmdragon

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In terms of units required a single full strength squadron has been considered appropriate in the past for the requirements of the New Zealand Defense force, taking into account its size, budget, and New Zealand's national philosophy.

 

I propose 18x F-16C and 6x F-16D

 

I don't think a second hand aircraft is a wise long term choice because of the lower fatigue life the airframes and engines will have along with higher maintenance levels. Given the history of the A-4K Skyhawk in RNZAF service* It is likely the RNZAF will squeeze as long a service life as possible from any new combat aircraft before it has to replace it. So although a fleet of brand new aircraft will cost more to purchase it will be able to be upgraded and kept in service for a much longer period than a second hand fleet which already has' miles on the clock.'

 

*The A-4K Skyhawk entered RNZAF service in 1971, they were upgraded to modern standards in 1986 (Project Kahu) and retired in 2001. A further upgrade was originally planned for the year 2000 (Kahu II) to keep them in service till their originally planned replacement in about 2007-9 which was the plan before the canned 1999 F-16A/B lease deal and eventual total scrapping of the air combat wing in 2001.

 

One of the main factors highlighted in the RNZAF Skyhawk replacement plan was the unsuitability of subsonic aircraft (such as the Skyhawk) in modern and future air warfare. So that would rule out most trainer platforms such as the BAE Hawk etc

 

One possible way to help spread out the costs of a new air combat wing would be to take delivery of the aircraft in stages spread out over a few years with the delivery of the two seater D models first so operational conversion could begin.

 

Also I don't believe a twin engine aircraft (new or secondhand) is a viable solution due to the increased maintenance time and operating costs above and over what a single engine lightweight fighter requires.

 

 

 

Good proposal. Do you think the RNZAF could up the initial unit number by leasing 2nd hand F-16s in the begining to get the combat wing up and running, then swap out the lend/leased older falcons while the newer ones are being built/delivered. Why not supplement the F-16 Falcons with a trainer that has a strike/defensive capability like the hawk Mk 127 or the TA/FA-50?

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As long as NZ doesn't mind waiting for help, why waste money on airplanes? That's what its leaders already figured out. If any real threat appears, surely the larger Western nations can bear the cost and defend NZ, probably at no charge. The USA (and to a lesser extent Japan and Australia) will do everything within their economic and political constraints to stop any hostile expansion in the Pacific, be it from China or anywhere else. 12 planes are not going to turn the tide against anyone capable of launching an attack on NZ, so why even bother? If NZ were like the UK in the early 1940s facing the Nazis almost entirely alone, then I could see trying to buy as many airframes as its economy could support. But in this day and age, the USA and/or NATO are playing world police. If NZ is going to spend any money on any kind of "combat" aircraft, shouldn't they be long range patrol types (i.e. P-3 Orion family) to try to identify potential threats and pass on intel to militarily stronger nations? Of course, help from the USA usually comes with a few strings attached, like the right to bring the very nuclear powered ships that would be saving NZ into NZ ports. So, my final answer per the discussion is that NZ should choose what it already has chosen: allow other nations to provide for its defense. That is the cheapest solution and in the absence of any real war, the absolute best solution to government spending issues.

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Good proposal. Do you think the RNZAF could up the initial unit number by leasing 2nd hand F-16s in the begining to get the combat wing up and running, then swap out the lend/leased older falcons while the newer ones are being built/delivered. Why not supplement the F-16 Falcons with a trainer that has a strike/defensive capability like the hawk Mk 127 or the TA/FA-50?

 

The idea of leasing 2nd hand F-16s in the beginning to get the combat wing up and running has merit as long as they are late model or upgraded C and D models with nearly the same specs as a newly build F-16C/D to make the transition from the lease aircraft to the new ones as seamless as possible. However I would still make the point I did before about using secondhand aircraft as a medium to long term option. I would also make the same point I did above about subsonic trainer aircraft and the lesson the RNZAF has already learned about their unsuitability.

 

 

 

 

 

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As long as NZ doesn't mind waiting for help, why waste money on airplanes? That's what its leaders already figured out. If any real threat appears, surely the larger Western nations can bear the cost and defend NZ, probably at no charge. The USA (and to a lesser extent Japan and Australia) will do everything within their economic and political constraints to stop any hostile expansion in the Pacific, be it from China or anywhere else. 12 planes are not going to turn the tide against anyone capable of launching an attack on NZ, so why even bother? If NZ were like the UK in the early 1940s facing the Nazis almost entirely alone, then I could see trying to buy as many airframes as its economy could support. But in this day and age, the USA and/or NATO are playing world police. If NZ is going to spend any money on any kind of "combat" aircraft, shouldn't they be long range patrol types (i.e. P-3 Orion family) to try to identify potential threats and pass on intel to militarily stronger nations? Of course, help from the USA usually comes with a few strings attached, like the right to bring the very nuclear powered ships that would be saving NZ into NZ ports. So, my final answer per the discussion is that NZ should choose what it already has chosen: allow other nations to provide for its defense. That is the cheapest solution and in the absence of any real war, the absolute best solution to government spending issues.

 

All I can say to that is those that don't learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. New Zealand is not a NATO member country and since the ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty) rift in 1985 the US has had no treaty obligations with NZ. No country can ever rely on others for it's security and nor should NZ. That being said the RNZAF's Air combat wing has never had air defense or strategic deterrence as a primary role since just after WWII. The air combat wing at the end on the 90's had three designated roles: close air support, air interdiction and maritime strike. New Zealand was not a country that saw itself carrying out the first attack missions of an air campaign such as strategic strike and counter-air roles. Restricting the application of force solely to targets of direct relevance to on-going military operations was more consistent with New Zealand's national philosophy and thus an emphasis was placed on close air support and air interdiction. A maritime strike capability was considered important as a deterrent against low-level security challenges and resource protection, and would be of high utility in the event of a serious degradation in New Zealand's security circumstances, because it would almost inevitably involve indirect or direct sea borne threats. This was not only the thinking at the time but also the roles the RNZAF envisioned in the future. So as you can see the air combat wing was never used for National defense or deterrent and that's not the role I am advocating (here and in real life) a restored air combat wing would take. It would in fact return to the roles of close air support, air interdiction and maritime strike. The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have indefinitely proved the worth of a capable air combat aircraft in the close air support role on the modern battle field.

Edited by dtmdragon
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The idea of leasing 2nd hand F-16s in the beginning to get the combat wing up and running has merit as long as they are late model or upgraded C and D models with nearly the same specs as a newly build F-16C/D to make the transition from the lease aircraft to the new ones as seamless as possible. However I would still make the point I did before about using secondhand aircraft as a medium to long term option. I would also make the same point I did above about subsonic trainer aircraft and the lesson the RNZAF has already learned about their unsuitability.

 

 

The TA/FA-50 is not subsonic, the TA-50 is a trainer/light strike, while the F-50 is a fully capable strike fighter platform. You can see the F-16s heritage in these planes.

 

TA-50.jpg

130529216019.jpg

Edited by MAKO69

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All I can say to that is those that don't learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. New Zealand is not a NATO member country and since the ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty) rift in 1985 the US has had no treaty obligations with NZ. No country can ever rely on others for it's security and nor should NZ. That being said the RNZAF's Air combat wing has never had air defense or strategic deterrence as a primary role since just after WWII. The air combat wing at the end on the 90's had three designated roles: close air support, air interdiction and maritime strike. New Zealand was not a country that saw itself carrying out the first attack missions of an air campaign such as strategic strike and counter-air roles. Restricting the application of force solely to targets of direct relevance to on-going military operations was more consistent with New Zealand's national philosophy and thus an emphasis was placed on close air support and air interdiction. A maritime strike capability was considered important as a deterrent against low-level security challenges and resource protection, and would be of high utility in the event of a serious degradation in New Zealand's security circumstances, because it would almost inevitably involve indirect or direct sea borne threats. This was not only the thinking at the time but also the roles the RNZAF envisioned in the future. So as you can see the air combat wing was never used for National defense or deterrent and that's not the role I am advocating (here and in real life) a restored air combat wing would take. It would in fact return to the roles of close air support, air interdiction and maritime strike. The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have indefinitely proved the worth of a capable air combat aircraft in the close air support role on the modern battle field.

 

Right on dtmdragon

 

Here are some of my thoughts streakeagle,

 

The world is a crazy place and its only getting worse. There are evil people on this "MUD BALL" that want to hurt/destroy, for lack of a better term our "Western" way of life, which gives the US, UK, AU, NZ, and all other similar nations the right to choose what we see fit for ourselves and famlies. For a sovereign nation to rely in part or whole on another country for defense is ludacris and the NZ govt. should be ashamed of the spot they placed NZ in during these turbulent times. NZ's allies are under attack from terrorists it's only a matter of when, not if. It's paramount that a nation (NZ) have a defense force that is capable of a defensive 1st strike to protect it's intrests, resources, and most of all it's people/next generation. Typical politiciains close a blind eye cross their fingers and hope the sh!t does'nt hit the fan on their watch. Its not the big country (China would never do such a thing) threat NZ should not worry about it's the rouge terror threat. NZ is very isolated, I'm sure if somthing was to happen to them the UK and the rest of her colonies would come to help, however not until a lot of damage has been done. The United States are spread way to thin w/the USAF in the process of cost cutting it's force by 1/4 to 1/3. The US forces will come, but it might take longer than what the Kiwi's want to wait.

Edited by MAKO69

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True however it is nearly the same price as an F-16 and is not nearly as proven plus production of current orders will not start till 2013 so an order placed in the near future would not be able to be filled for some time.

The TA/FA-50 is not subsonic, the TA-50 is a trainer/light strike, while the F-50 is a fully capable strike fighter platform. You can see the F-16s heritage in these planes.

Edited by dtmdragon

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