I am moving and changing my blog. This blog known as ELP is going to take a different path.
I will write about Defens(c)e matters, but I will also write about other things: Australia, the U.S., politics, technology, and anything of interest.
The albatross known as the F-35 may come up from time to time, but those days are mostly done. If someone hasn’t figured out that it is a failure by now, they never will until it is too late.
I am going to be less abrasive. It was a useful tool that suited the purpose to get people’s attention but it is not me. And; it is a rather tiring act. I don’t want to be type-cast.
I want to help out others or at least highlight them more. That would be Galrahn, War News Updates, Alert5, and some others that have to be your daily read. I want to help Sam and crew at Lowy Institute’s The Interpreter Blog be more successful with their goals to have a wider coverage. They are important daily reads; for me anyway.
I will also be blogging more on a variety of Aviation Week articles.
Also, I don’t have to agree with something everyday; all the time to like it.
I am still working on the layout of this blog. As there are a lot of mobile users, don’t expect it to be anything but a simple format.
I hope you enjoy where I am going.
What was D.C.’s Joint Strike Fighter thinking in 1998?
$191B in procurement dollars (1998$)
2852 aircraft (400-some more than today)
$67M each (1998$)
With the debt ceiling up in the air—and thus presenting a lot of unknowns–maybe we can save real money by getting rid of unnecessary elements in the DOD.
For instance, just think of the savings if we didn’t have to fund that additional land army and redundant naval air force known as the USMC to such alarming levels.
Regardless, I figure that this problem is going to solve itself when the crushing debt becomes self-aware sometime this year.
This article takes the cake for troubling Defence news. In it whistle-blowers claim that security checks on a variety of Defence personal and contractors are faked to try and reduce a backlog of background checks and personal security reports.
It involves claims of threatening those employees to pick up the pace and fake documents to get things done.
If true, it is one of the most serious breaches of security to be made public.
An investigation should be launched with an outside agency that doesn’t directly report to Defence. The Federal Police would probably do. An investigation of this size is worthy of a fund-site, sufficient manning and standing up of office space in the Federal Police to find out the exact health of our Defence security vetting process.
Besides losing a war it doesn’t get much bigger than this. Matter of fact it is something as serious as this that COULD make us lose a war, suffer a domestic terrorist incident (on any scale), leak large amounts of secret information, or see equipment pilfered on a large scale for lack of a crim-check.
Without proper security vetting of Defence personnel and contractors, we have no credible national defence.
Elements of the Australian defence industry are crying a river because the current government is incompetent (just like the last one) yet they look toward the moronic Defence White Paper of 2009 as if it is the crown jewels. Interesting; they seem to avoid talking less about the cancer that is the DMO and friends.
They want a 4th air warfare destroyer—which we do not need–and are deluded enough to think that Australia can make its own Collins-class sub replacement.
Since Australia refuses to pursue a true air domination mission, things like the air warfare destroyer will only see a watery grave if there is a big battle. So what about helping out U.S. aircraft carriers? Same thing here because the air wing that flies off of those will be obsolete unless hope-of-hopes UCAS-N becomes oh-so-incredible.
High-speed ship killers now proliferating in the region also don’t make for a happy thought. AEGIS meet your end with discovery on the horizon and the clock running. How ready is Defence to deal with this kind of technology launched from land, sea, air and underwater? It is very, very fast. Will Nulka save the day? Roll the dice. When you have real air domination assets you get into these bad situations less. Even with that, what about this threat model? It is doubtful that an “air warfare destroyer”—which is not—has much capability here except as a range target.
Also without real air domination, ASW aircraft can’t fly in all the places you want them. This takes out part of our defence against submarines.
And what about our subs? Too few and too faulty. We need real Defence leadership to push Industry to produce a large number of low manpower (20 some crew) and very simple submarines. Forget the gold-plated do everything unaffordables. Defence/Industry impotence won’t deliver. What these people want is a path of doom.
Along with building simple subs, the pump should be primed by purchasing something off the shelf. It is this or given current performance with the sub sorrow, risk having yet another ineffective and expensive sub fleet.
What do we need from these people? In order to make them effective we again must have real leadership from Defence. Without that, our industry is just going to be a mediocrity because it has poor requirements thrown at it; over and over along with poor oversight.
We need to follow the only good thing about the Defence White Paper of 2009. That is to build more frigates; and not overly complex ones either. A similar size and capability to the ones we have will be fine.
Yes industry seems to be in trouble. If they want to be activist about it, they need to criticise not political parties but the entrenched Defence bureaucracy which is leading them to ruin. Once there are capable people in the Defence bureaucracy, they in turn can lead the politicians down the proper path.
Unskilled politicians—they aren’t all stupid–see a poorly managed Defence bureaucracy for what it is and see the banner held high which is the project of concern list. DMO is incompetent; senior Defence is rudderless. Cry about that.
The charts below are from the U.S. Air Force 2012 budget. They outline how much money the USAF has to fund to procure and field the F-35A.
USAF will be the largest alleged purchaser of this airframe. It is a similar type to what export customers such as Australia and Canada claim that they will purchase.
The sales force for the maker of the aircraft have been stating to countries like Australia and Canada that they won’t pay for U.S. research and development costs like the U.S. Government. What is interesting is that for the charts below, they have nothing to do with research and development costs either. They are only about what the USAF will pay to field the aircraft.
What can Australia and Canada really expect to pay for their F-35s? Follow the USAF. And there is no way that another country is going to get a lower price than the USAF.
Interesting is the more detailed chart. That is $106.756 million for the special roll-away price for the jet without an engine. Add the engine and you are now up to $120.541 million. Then there is another $2.411 million just for engineering change orders. So for 2012, the F-35A costs the USAF $122.952 million to get it out the door with no spares and support equipment.
Maybe if the Canadian DND and Australian New Air Combat Capability (NACC) and their fan base wish upon a star, it will show just how stupid they really are. How low will this price be in 2016? Who knows? The DND and the NACC don’t; that is for sure.
(click image to make larger)
(click image to make larger)