Will Defence get 18 Super Hornets to make up for the delays with the F-35 program? Someone that bought this guy lunch (or whatever) thinks so. And, it is marked as “Exclusive”.
I guess it is possible. Sounds interesting. It was done before when in late 2006, Defence made a snap decision to purchase 24 2-seat Block 2 F-18F Super Hornets. I would guess this latest sounding board/leak to the media would be single-seat E models? The source claims it can be done for $1.5B.
Let us look at the rest of it that isn’t so exclusive or even very accurate.
Australian defence officials head for the US this week for an update from Lockheed Martin Corporation, which is developing the stealthy, multi-role JSF, now named the F-35 Lightning II.
The Australian understands they will raise serious concerns about delays in the project and the possibility of an alarming gap in Australia’s air defences from 2020 onwards.
One would think with all the previous trips (think of all that travel cost to the taxpayer) that the clueless New Air Combat Capability (NACC) office would have better “analysis” to predict a lot of this rather than cheerleading; or that the DMO would have a better idea of what is going on instead of giving F-35 cardboard cutout toys to kids at air shows.
Australia plans to buy up to 100 F-35s for an estimated $16bn and has so far ordered 14, with the RAAF’s first squadron supposed to be operating by 2018.
Not really. No money has been handed over for this folly. In 2009, Defence announced it wanted to get 14 for around 3.2B or so. Given the horrific troubles of the aircraft, Australian decision makers would have to be pretty dumb to hand over that money now.
Officials from Lockheed Martin have insisted the problems in the US will not mean any delays in delivering Australia’s first 14 aircraft.
And any thinking person that has watched this program would see that claim as misleading.
But there is growing concern in Canberra that the US delays will mean the RAAF’s first squadron may not be ready until about 2020 and possibly later.
Alarm bells are ringing because it’s likely that by 2020 the last 30 or so of the RAAF’s older “classic” Hornets will have reached the end of their useful lives, even with extensive refurbishment.
Refurb of old Hornets. That didn’t go so well the last time. Everytime you tear one apart it has some similar problems but then each one’s wear is just a bit different. And what is the purpose anyway? As a fighter, it will get shot down vs. emerging Pac Rim threats. It is the shortest range and most tanker dependent aircraft in its class in an area of the world where range is worth something. Just for the record we could have kept the F-111 going out past 2020 if needed.
Defence officials are preparing for the government a range of options to fill this looming gap in air defences with the most likely being the purchase of a further 18 Super Hornets for about $800 million each.
That would make economic sense, because the $6bn purchase price for the first 24 Super Hornets included the infrastructure to support them and that can be used for the additional aircraft.
It is nice to see someone make really dumb typos like I do. No, this guy is better than I am at putting words on a page, even if the message is wrong and/or confused.
The Australian has been told development of the aircraft, which is packed with sophisticated radars and other electronic equipment, is progressing well and is likely to meet or exceed the expectations of the nine nations involved in its development.
The person that “told” you that is an idiot. Progressing well? A new “schedule” is created, and then a few weeks later we hear how great it is doing on the new schedule (forgetting all the previous schedules it has busted). “Meet” or “exceed” based on what proof? Go ahead and fund those 14 aircraft. The production process hasn’t figured out how to get the fixes for the stealth design problems into production until sometime in 2015. The helmet–which holds a lot of critical display information for the pilot (there is no HUD like on other fighter aircraft)–isn’t up for the job. They are shopping for a new vendor. Software is way behind. There are weight and other design issues. The aircraft still has not explored the full flight envelope after 4 years of testing begging the question, “why?”. So far the only “meet” or “exceed” metric here is in efforts to defraud the taxpayer.
But there is a growing acceptance in the RAAF that the aircraft will be late and a steady increase in costs is eating up the considerable margin built into the contract by Australia’s Defence Department.
In order to have a “margin”, first, one must have figured out what the aircraft will cost to purchase and sustain. The only thing that the NACC, DMO and other cheerleaders have proven thus far is that they have no clue.
The original plan was for Lockheed to build 2443 JSFs for various arms of the American forces with about 500 others going to allies including Australia, Israel and Canada.
The original plan was for 2800-some F-35s for U.S. orders. That was chopped down. Early on, the program was down in the -400 region. Remember the economy of scale hogwash. Where did you get the 500 from? Partner sales were for over 700 in the original plan. I don’t see that happening either. Then there is the issue of the “production learning curve” that is supposed to help lower the price. That fantasy won’t work either as we can see that hundreds of aircraft have already been cut from the production timeline. There will be no great learning curve to base a lowering cost on in this decade; if ever.
Air Marshal McCormack, who now runs a normally strongly pro-JSF group of experienced military flyers known as the Williams Foundation, said in its latest bulletin the government should remember the RAAF’s experience with the F-111.
If one of your strong arguments from the “everything will work out OK” camp is to look at the original F-111 procurement, you are not doing too well because a moronic procurement process is still a moronic procurement process. Funny how the Williams Foundation (gung-ho rent seekers uber alles) has to now back-peddle their F-35 zeal. Fly before you buy buddy; fly before you buy. Where “fly” is a real go-to-war example.
Air Marshal McCormack said this experience suggested there could be very good reasons for Australia to delay delivery of the F-35 until the production line was “mature” and problems were ironed out.
Like a heroin addict trying to kick the habit. It is possible, but some major organisational group-think processes have to be shot just like a rabid Ol’ Yeller. Williams Foundation=useless.
The new aircraft is also expected to replace all of the major aircraft in the US inventory.
No it isn’t. Even someone that spent 5 minutes on a Wikipedia or Lockheed Martin web page would understand that isn’t so.