Friday, September 30, 2011

Meet the new Mao?

Here is something to add to the post below. I wonder if the Gillard dynasty along with Professor White et al have any idea of what could possibly go into their white paper on Asia relations that can address this?

"It may be time to concede that China’s leader-in-waiting, Xi Jinping, is not the moderate that many have assumed. Indeed, evidence from his past suggests that Xi is going to steer China in a more aggressive direction, both domestically and internationally. As his time in office nears, Xi is evincing signs of being a narrow nationalist on foreign policy and of having a penchant for police actions in dealing with domestic frictions. Hence, his rise could signify that the long struggle between Maoists and reformers that characterized China’s “reform era” is now ending. That era’s replacement could be something more like the struggle that characterized the early years of the People’s Republic, when social progressives who believed in Marxist theories of social emancipation struggled against anti-Japanese (and anti-American) nationalists who were more taken with Lenin’s theories of political control. Xi is clearly in the latter camp, siding with order and power over social progress, and he may lead China in a very unpleasant direction."

Maybe if we act real nice they will like us?

H/T- War News Updates

Hard sell for a desperate vendor

Aerospace sales guys have it rough these days. Especially when they don't know their territory.

"Australia was an indicator market known for its due diligence. An order here could translate into further sales across the region."

"Due diligence"? Where is the evidence?

"Given the potential spin-offs from securing an Australian contract, it might even make sense for Airbus Military to sell planes at cost or even at a loss."

In a thin market, that can only be a business plan of doom. Maybe he needs to talk to some Australian SME's involved in the F-35 program to get their opinion; while they are still in business.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chinese communists want war, Australian leadership wants to dream

The Chinese communists are fired up. They want war. Hard to believe? Try this.

The lead article the Chinese Communist Party newspaper Global Times on Tuesday contained an alarming call for a declaration of war against Vietnam and Philippines, two nations that in recent weeks launched the loudest protests against China’s sweeping maritime sovereignty claims over the South China Sea.

The fiery rhetoric of the article states that “the South China Sea is the best place for China to wage wars” because “of the more than 1,000 oil rigs there, none belongs to China; of the four airfields in the Spratly Islands, none belongs to China; once a war is declared, the South China Sea will be a sea of fire [with burning oil rigs]. Who will suffer the most from a war? Once a war starts there, the Western oil companies will flee the area, who will suffer the most?”

The article further calculates that “the wars should be focused on striking the Philippines and Vietnam, the two noisiest troublemakers, to achieve the effect of killing one chicken to scare the monkeys.”

In other news, the current Australian leadership is trying to do a white paper on 'The Asian Century and the changing structure of Australia's economy'. This is a good idea if it is realistic.

However, consider this thinking:

"But we are far from pessimistic too. Because there is nothing in our Alliance relationship with the United States which seeks to contain China, because a growing, successful China is in the interest of every country in the region, including our own and because our national strength, and that of our ally, is respected in the region and the world."

My theory is that what this government sees as the definition of a growing and successful China may be significantly different than how communist China sees it.

It will not be an equal playing field. Expect loss of intellectual property. Expect power-plays for our natural resources.

The current Australian government--where some of the politicians hold what can only be described as neo-Marxist ideals--are unable to see the real threat of communism.

Not containing communism is a bad idea. I fear that this new white paper will be weak on security to the point of putting Australia and our Pacific allies at risk.

The F-22 is a better value for the USMC

Should the United States Marine Corps go with the F-22 instead of the F-35?

While some may think of this APA paper on the topic dated February 2009, a similar idea ("F–35B Needs a Plan B") comes from this recent article in the Marine Corps Gazette.

So what about the beloved STOVL jet mission? The F-35 program is on life support. Much more than the author of the USMC Gazette article thinks. Hint; it is technical as well as fiscal.

Prepare for the USMC to say good-bye to STOVL jets.


USMC rethink of force structure

The U.S. Marine Corps is rethinking their plans of how to secure and hold that I mean budget.

They are trying to work out their reason to exist in a post-Iraq/Afghanistan world where they have been used like a second land army.

Still it takes some aggressive spin and sophistry take Gold beach simply because Red beach has to be taken first.

"A humanitarian mission is a [amphibious operation]."

It is interesting because some years ago, during a Haiti remove and replace the DOD took the air wings off of two carriers; loaded them up with U.S. Army (elements of the 82nd Airborne and 10th Mountain) and minimized the USMC for other than war operations.

In the 20th century the USMC grew. In the 21st century the challenge will be how to shrink it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Overview of U.K. war costs for Libya

Interesting war costs here for the U.K. involvement in Libya.

If it is anywhere near accurate, it costs less per mission for a Tornado that it does a Typhoon.


H/T-War News Updates

Smith is the best we got?

Every once in a while I give Smith too much credit.

And then later I get disappointed. My own fault.

Take the following quote from the Air Warfare Destroyer mess.

"Mr Smith said he had seen suggestions that Australia did not need these advanced warships.

"I reject that entirely. We are a maritime country, a maritime continent and just as we need to have an effective air combat capability, so we need to have an effective maritime capability, including a maritime combat capability, and that's what we are doing," he said.

No one stating that the Air Warfare Destroyer project isn't needed (it really isn't) is stating that we are not a "maritime country" with maritime defence needs.

I haven't a clue what he means about an "effective air combat capability". There is no evidence that Australia is on track to receive such a thing. No one is willing to stand up and say the truth; "effective flying club".

I'd hope that we would get someone better than Smith, but he is top drawer compared to the previous empty suits.

Find out who is responsible for the Air Warfare Destroyer mess

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Eurofighter Typhoon analysis by APA

Some of this is a bit dated (as it doesn't include the Block II variant of the Super Hornet) but it is a good analysis to put things into perspective since the Typhoon has been mentioned re: Japan.

The following quote points back to the original intent of creating the Typhoon.

"The strength of the Typhoon is its very modern and comprehensive avionic package, especially that in the RAF variant, and its excellent agility when operated around its optimum combat radius of about 300 NMI (a figure to be found in older Eurofighter literature, which has since disappeared with the export drive to compete against the bigger F-15 and F-22)."

Unless Japan can conjure up the F-22, the Typhoon is still the best of the 3 options facing Japan for its F-4 replacement.


How many ways can the Pentagon waste your money?

Good grief. The waste.

And; a little historical reference...

"We all have to recognize that we have to cinch up our belts, and we haven't done that in a decade."

-Admiral Mullen-

A good summary by CDR Salamander:

"Don't get me wrong - I like nice displays ... but ... do you know how much work a taxpayer has to do in order to pay for this? How many taxpayers it takes? Money that does not go to their children so it can go to Uncle Sam instead? Have we pondered how many cars you can buy for that."

And having seen some things myself, I don't think this is just a Navy problem.

Women in the Australian infantry and special forces?

Women in the Australian infantry and special forces?

Only if the physical fitness exams are not watered down. I read the article. However I would like clarification on this. Make sure the diversity bullies don't create a special PT standard based on sex. Someone that cannot pull their weight in the infantry or special forces gets people on their team killed.

Buying worthless defense platforms...continued

Before someone cries a river about the defense industry they may want to buy a clue.

The Navy will have to mothball more than 60 ships including two carrier battle groups, while the Air Force will have to substantially reduce the procurement of the F-35 which is supposed to be our bread-and-butter fighter for decades to come; the F-35 variants intended for use on amphibious assault ships and aircraft carriers will most likely be cancelled altogether. Cutting all these programs will result in even more job losses—the report projects at least 25 percent of the civilian defense workforce will have to be furloughed, resulting in the elimination of 200,000 jobs.

With our limited money situation, why should we fund things like the faulty F-35 that take money away from real dominating platforms?

The strategic stupidity is amazing.

But yeah, close down the F-22 line. The kind of stupidity displayed is destroying our defense posture.

Under-skilled bureaucrats bag big bounty


Beyond their capability. And where is the performance to back up the pay level?

Five of Australia's most senior public servants are expected to be granted pay rises of between $250,000 and $300,000 to bring them into line with other public service bosses and high-flying corporate executives.

Current salary packages for the new Chief of the Defence Forces, the Tax Commissioner, the Auditor-General, the Chief of Customs and the Australian Statistician are expected to be boosted soon beyond their current $500,000 a year to $800,000 in line with recent rises granted to corporate regulators.

Funny, as I know people of worth that earn a lot less. They did it themselves and didn't need a government hand-out.

Australia's naval "strategy" and ship-building industry explained

Via White, Australia's naval "strategy" explained. Here are just a few things.

1. The Air Warfare Destroyer is not a worthy project.
2. The Air Warfare Destroyer is a waste when we could get Burkes for $1B each.
3. The idea that the Air Warfare Destroyer (or some similar projects) provides industry worth may not be accurate. It takes useful (and limited) skills away from non-military sectors.
4. The amphibious flatops are also a waste. One reason is we won't be able to protect them.
5. Sea denial should be the strategy, not force projection. Simply because of our limited resources.

White mentions subs, but given everything stated so far, it is hard to believe we have credible skills to build those at home.

I would quote a few things, but it is all good. He hasn't always hit the mark but this is White's best work.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Strategic mistake

And yet we will stop producing the F-22 based on no supportable study (as opposed to a real study of supporting 10 AEFs at 383 produced.).

Then there is the process of selling out our allies.

All to keep the just-so-failed program going.

History usually judges mistakes like this  badly.

Btw; the ME deployment above was with really high MC rates.

U.S. Super Hornet proposal to Japan

It is nice of Boeing and the U.S. government to offer Japan an aircraft with some really great avionics.

It is not so nice that from brake-release to intercept the Super is the slowest thing on the market.

Note where its pedigree is on this chart.

The history of the Super Hornet's weak performance should be well known to anyone who spends just a little bit of time looking for other things besides press releases.


Latest F-35 "fast facts" from LM still show over-optimism

There is some interesting general information here, so; worth the read. One of the most unbelievable statements is that they are still pushing the $65mil figure per jet. Also, given what we know, the production numbers are unrealistic.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The meme that won't die; the F-35 as a "fifth-generation fighter"

The Williams Foundation is still going. They are not mentioned much in defence circles simply because what they say isn't all that important; as seen with the following. Take this recent update "Future Air Combat and 5th Generation Fighters" (PDF); a faith-based opinion of the future of the RAAF. They are in-fact blind marketeers of the F-35 for Australia. I wonder how the namesake of the organisation would feel about being used as a marketing effort for industry, rent-seekers and back-fill for the entrenched Defence bureaucracy?

Also, a note to the Williams Foundation, before awarding yourself as "independent" you may want to brush up on appearances.

The sponsor section shows this.

(click image to make larger)

"Independent". Sure.

It is interesting that the Williams Foundation has this membership list that looks like a retired officers club. This is to give the non-military person the appearance of knowledge of topic. Yet, while they may have x amount of hours serving in uniform, they don't seem to have 15,000 or more hours doing flight test engineering.

It is pretty hard to believe the "5th generation" label with fighters as it pertains to the F-35. Especially if the aircraft was originally designed with the belief that there would be plenty of F-22s around to clear the big threats. The F-35 will be lucky if it doesn't get killed off by advanced fighters like the SU-35--a non-stealth aircraft.

If not faith, the Williams Foundation's ideas are fantasy best suited for a 10 year old model airplane builder that has spent too much time with the glue, those in a retirement home or those thinking of the next Ponzi scheme to bilk the clueless politicians and taxpayers.

The Williams Foundation certainly is correct about military organisations failure to learn or misinterpret emerging tactics and methods, but probably not the way the letter intended given their want of fielding in effect, a "Brewster Buffalo II" to face growing Pacific Rim threats.

It is unfortunate that some didn't take the hint for real capability.

I wonder how the Williams Foundation membership feels about job loss, defence capability loss and most important; misleading statements? Normally, one should not have to question the motivation of such people, however the evidence shows maybe it is time.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

U.S. fighter suggestions for Japan hard to take seriously

U.S. suggestions of what jet fighter aircraft Japan needs are hard to take seriously. Consider the link to the Reuters story below.

The Super-Hornet is a strike aircraft that happens to have some air-to-air ability. It is the slowest aircraft of its kind. From brake-release to intercept, it is the slowest jet you can try and fit into this competition.

The F-35 was never intended to be a prime home defense interceptor. Like the Super Hornet, it will not be able to stand up against emerging threats in the Pacific Rim.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is the least-worst option for Japan.

The best option? That would be the F-22.

The U.S. has let its allies down by allowing its leadership and common sense in the military aerospace industry wither and then die. If the F-22 is not an option, the U.S. is unable to provide any credible solutions for air supremecy problems.

The hard truth is this; if your fighter aircraft has little chance at beating the F-22, it also has little chance of beating the PAK/FA.

U.S. allies will have to look elsewhere for air power solutions. Korea is.

Australia requests price info for 6th C-17

Australia has put in a request for price info for a 6th C-17.

The additional aircraft will probably be useful. As a United States Air Force C-17 pilot told me once, "We take a lot of business away from the C-130".

Additional C-17 buys were never mentioned in the joke that is the last Defence White Paper which some hold so dear. This points back toward the inability of Defence bureaucrats to consistently perform good long range planning.

Given the way that additional buys of C-17s now creep into budgets (just like the 5th one), it may be time for a top to bottom review of all ADF airlift needs; a clean sheet of paper.

More on that F-35 wing defect

So what would have happened if the F-35 program was not restructured a few times since its start in 2001?

Wouldn't we have more aircraft in production? Wouldn't more aircraft be finished sitting on the ramp? Maybe, but that only has worth if flight test discovery can verify what they are building are not mistake-jets.

Just a few weeks ago when the defect to the forward-root-rib in A and B model F-35s was publicly reported (a defect the program discovered in November of last year) program officials stated that the 60 some aircraft that are complete or in various stages of production would have to be fixed.

According to this F-35 program briefing slide from March 2011, that fix is expensive and time consuming.

"... this part failure will require a “complex” retrofit that is “likely to be expensive and time consuming.” The “new segment splice requires numerous cuts, fittings, angles, systems R&I and ‘plying’ up the upper wing skin."

It is about 45 days of repair work for each aircraft. This assumes the repair work goes as expected.

And there is probably more defect discovery in the future of this program.

The F-35 program office and Lockheed Martin are spinning this for all it is worth. Stating that this is what testing is for, to discover things before full-rate production.

Which sounds good if we were not currently building scores of low-rate-initial-production aircraft.

This was a March 2009 response by the F-35 program leaders to criticism about development risks.

"JSF leaders say the problems are behind them and the program has stayed largely on track since the redesign of 2004-05. Modeling, simulation and ground tests reduce the uncertainties of flight-testing, and the flight-test program has the resources—including more than 30 dedicated aircraft—to complete the program by mid-2014."

So what would have happened if we stayed to the 2003 plan and had made all those pre-full-rate production aircraft? That forward root-rib repair would have to be conducted on approximately 240 aircraft; portions of which would be for non-U.S. customers.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Who are the Australian JSF Industry Group (AJIG) ?

“I am dying, Maximus. When a man sees his end he wants to know that there has been some purpose to his life. How will the world speak my name in years to come? Will I be known as the philosopher, the warrior, the tyrant?”

So what does the Australian JSF Industry Group (AJIG) (chaired by the government) actually do for home industry that is involved in the F-35 program? Have they briefed industry on the risks involved in this program? Do they actually know the risks? Or are they just cheerleaders for the rent-seekers, defence bureaucrats and primes?

Is it all about them and no one else?

How many real and thoughtful engineers and projects managers are assigned to this team? Are they allowed to speak their mind; or are they silent for fear of being labelled heretics?

When looking at the composition of the AJIG, how many of them are in a situation where their pay check depends on them not questioning the PowerPoint briefings?

Should our politicians investigate this organisation to see what part they had in the failure of Production Parts? What other companies are looking at the same fate?

The business plan behind the F-35 has failed. The hour is very late and an exit strategy has to be produced. Fast.

Trying to spin the Production Parts story

More spin from LM.

Unfortunately, the reporter fails to ask the LM rep if his company's overly optimistic briefings since the start of the program had an end effect to the demise of Production Parts.

Good luck with Japan too.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Home grown subs could be a $70B nightmare

It is funny to read the words from the rent-seeking crowd.

Actually it is not. We have heard the pitch of the Ponzi scheme before.

This is the cousin to the industry that can't build common warships without goofing it up. In partner of course with the entrenched Defence bureaucracy. Most of the money the rent-seekers talk about comes from you the taxpayer; or they dream it will anyway.

This idea of building home-grown subs needs to be shut down. Home industry is great; when it is based on realistic goals. When it is not, it does more damage to the defence posture of this nation than an enemy by burning up limited defense dollars.

And, they would rather have a faulty product tied up to a dock instead of something that works; off the shelf. These people do not have the defence of the nation in mind; even if they pretend they do.

Australian government complicit in ruining 65 year old company

Here is the rest of the story of Production Parts. Read all of it. Slowly if needed. Soak it in. Think about it.

The government over-sold this Ponzi-scheme called the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and encouraged industry to sign up for the high-risk program. Too big to fail has run into a wall.

Production Parts won’t be the last company to suffer this fate. These are real people that have lost real jobs.

Independent industry experts warned us of the risk. Now, it is no longer risk. It is a show-stopper.

Air Sovereignty Alert (ASA) missions with a turbo-prop

The future for a USAF that has trouble paying the bills is here. Kinda. For short range Air Sovereignty Alert (ASA) missions against slow movers, the Air Guard has been trying out the AT-6 II turbo-prop. Lots of gas and on-station time. Low payments.

“We successfully completed all four of the intercepts, we had been on station for a little more than two hours, the F-16s had departed, the didn’t have a tanker so they had gone back to land and they asked ups, ‘Ok, are you guys ready to land?’ We said, ‘well, we still have an hour and a half of fuel left… We were able to text both ground controllers as well as the F-16. We traded tracks with the F-16s that showed where we were locked to, we could see their radar information piped into the aircraft as well.”

The F-35 industry is in trouble

The F-35 industry is in trouble.

Here in Australia, share value of some companies that are associated with the program are going down. One company has evaporated. Back in the U.S., communities that depended on F-22 production near Atlanta were told the F-35 would save them. Now as this article states, job cuts are the future.

All because of poor program progress. yet if all that is being delivered is a POS (Brewster Buffalo II) in a box wrapped in a pretty ribbon, it is all wasted money.

USAF has no air power leadership

USAF has no air power leaders in charge. In describing what can't fly against "anti-access threats", Gen. Schwartz unknowingly doesn't understand that the F-35 will not be credible against anti-access.

He said,"The Air Force will modernize its existing fleet to mitigate delays to the F-35, but Schwartz reiterated that fourth-generation fighters such as the F-15 and F-16 are not effective against the latest anti-access threats like modern integration air defense systems. The older planes lack stealth and don't have integrated avionics, he said."

The F-22 is the only "alternative" sir.

Here is the link to the softball reporting.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Too many GOFOs and SES

The U.S. military has become significantly smaller since the end of the Cold War.

So why do we have a significant increase in General Officer/Flag Officer (GOFO) slots in the DOD? Why do we have a significant increase in civilian Senior Executive Service (SES) slots the DOD?

Take a look at the chart.

80% are oxygen thieves.

Indeed. That is a lot of money wasted on spiffy office furniture, staff and other trappings. It reminds me at the end of the Cold War where USAF developed a "no general left behind act". For instance, the USAF at the prime of Strategic Air Command (SAC) had bomber wing commanders as full colonels. Full nuke alert; lots of responsibility. After the Cold War (where there was no longer any nuke alert for bombers), you started to see Wings commanded by 1-star generals with less responsibility.

I saw the SES world at a major depot. Some were worth it. Others? Well, the third leg of the waste triad was endless reorganization. No one could stop. You had to look like you were doing something even if the solution would be better served by a little bit more supervision and training. No. Reorganize. Fire up the PowerPoint. Get the message out. Rinse and repeat.

Yes, the military can suffer some cuts; if they are in the right place.

Dilettantes compare defence plans

Both major political parties are complaining the others defence plans are faulty.

Interesting as both parties have contributed greatly to the project of concern list.

You never hear much about how the Greens feel about Defence--at least in the media--other than that they would probably destroy it.

The Greens by the way are the only ones with a sensible Afghanistan policy; that is, to get out.

But back to the lead dilettantes. Neither has an air defense solution, except to make our fighter force a flying club in the face of growing regional threats.

The idea of Submarines is such a political hot potato (rent-seeking uber alles) that you can expect this to get goofed up bad.

And, unless politicians look to another source to help write the next Defence White Paper, you can expect it to be a product from the south end of a north-bound bovine. Just like the last one.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

DOD may delay work on 100 more F-35s

This from Reuters-

Senior Pentagon officials are considering postponing production of an additional 100 F-35 fighter jets by Lockheed Martin Corp as part of a five-year defense plan to be sent to Congress, according to three people familiar with the program.

"No decision is likely to be made until November or December, but this is clearly a major option that would help the Department of Defense meet the savings mandates under the Budget Control Act," said one person who was not authorized to speak on the record.

The program has already been restructured twice over the past two years, postponing production of over 224 radar-evading fighter planes -- moves that tend to drive up the price of each airplane in the short-term.

Unknown how this ties in with the previous news about keeping LRIP batches in the 30-some jet size for a couple of years.

Stevens said the plane's flight testing was ahead of schedule this year after delays in past years. At the end of August it was 8 percent ahead on flights and about 11 percent ahead on the number of test benchmarks it had completed.

It is yet to clear one weapon, clear the full envelop or show any worth in operational exercises; nearly 10 years after the start of the program.

Suppliers. Investors. Redundancies.


Canadian F-35 selection process did not consider alternatives

The Canadian DND never did a proper selection process for the F-35. Other than making up a rigged requirement that ruled out anything else based on nothing more than a table exercise and marketing spin from Lockheed Martin--the maker of the jet--DND was irresponsible.

The U.S. Navy is the official U.S. government representative for the Super Hornet Block II when briefing classified performance data. They never gave the DND a full-up briefing on the aircraft's capability.

"I am not suggesting that even with this data, the F-18 Super Hornet could best meet Canada’s needs. I am saying that the military’s claim to have conducted a rigourous comparison of all alternatives is blatantly false. It is also quite possible that the military did not have all the necessary data from other potential suppliers."

I am guessing part of that is how the APG-79 angled in the nose along with RCS reduction methods, defensive jamming and minimal armament, give the aircraft some advantage in lowering the probability of kill (PK) of enemy radar-homing air-to-air missiles with a nose-on BVR shot. That along with the whole IDECM suite on the aircraft are something that exists today.

There is other F-35 risk. Industry and jobs may be in peril. With high F-35 production figures MIA, I wonder how many investors have put up for Canadian companies? Will they end up like this?

Everywhere one looks, the selection process for the F-35 has a distinctly bad smell. As things unravel, it will get worse.

Proper evolution requires strong leadership

Some important words from G.

"If during this decade, 2011 - 2020, the US Navy is unable to significantly evolve ASW for surface forces, I believe the entire force structure of the US Navy will change dramatically as large quantities of high quality and expensive aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, and big deck amphibious vessels become indefensible as investments for seapower in the face of the growth and much improved capabilities of the global submarine force."

I don't see the U.S. Navy evolving ASW significantly. First of all, one would have to have real visionary leadership; which is not present.

Did Production Parts Pty Ltd just die???

Someone told me today that Production Parts Pty Ltd--one of the poster companies for Australian industry involvment in the F-35 program--has been put into liquidation! They were big-time dependent on F-35 work.

I just checked their website. I got this.

I called a number to their Victoria office and got no answer.

This is news folks. Remember all the orders they were expecting on F-35 widgets that just have not materialised. Quickstep has F-35 concerns also.

All those promises. The rubber is now hitting the road for everyone that invested into this nightmare.

Here is some past news on Production Parts happier days...

JSF work big win for parts maker

Production Parts scores JSF engine win

Production Parts also had some involvement with the RR F136 engine that Gates wanted killed.

Anyone with more news on this, let us know.

UPDATE--- OK I am the slow news guy it looks like. This from August.

Victorian defence manufacturer Production Parts collapses into administration

A 60-year-old aerospace manufacturing company that won a $40 million contract last year to produce parts for the controversial F-35 Joint Strike Fighter project has been placed into administration, with receivers PPB now receiving expressions of interest for a buyer.

I would have thought all those orders would keep everyone healthy. Colour me surprised.

August 2011--Goes into administration
September 2011--Liquidation

Don't believe Donley and Schwartz on air power issues

Donley doesn't have a clue about air power. Take a look at this.

"We remain committed to maintaining air superiority and the capability to hold any target at risk," Donley told a convention of the Air Force Association support group, noting the average age of the U.S. fighter fleet is 22 years old.

"Modernizing our aging ... fighter force depends on the fifth generation capabilities of the Joint Strike Fighter," he added. "Simply put, there is no alternative to the F-35 program. It must succeed."

1. You can't maintain air superiority with the F-35 vs. emerging threats.
2. Which means you can not "hold any target at risk".
3. The F-35 has no credible "fifth-generation capabilities"; except maybe in the eyes of the marketing pukes.
4. The idea that there are no alternatives to the F-35 (For the USAF) is untrue.
5. "It must succeed". Hitler was famous for statements similar to this when the German Army was getting torn to shreds; ignoring the concept that the enemy has a will of their own.

Donley and his partner have a history of misleading people on air power issues.

Don't believe them.

USAF, today and future is window shopping concept art

A dying man can dream. USAF reality of poor future budgets vs. concept art.

The Dew Line has the story

Refurb A-10s, and other geriatric aircraft. That is the future.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pushing the Ponzi Scheme-How trade media helps sell DOD misinformation

No surprise that the trade press makes advert sales dollars from the people they "report" on. This shouldn't be confused with journalism.

If you want a great example of misleading the public, take a look at these two Defense News clips from 2009 that make up an interview from the now fired F-35 project office boss. The interviewer throws softballs and the guest makes easy catches.

Take the time to tally the number of statements that are spin and/or misleading.

I will put in my observations in a comment after some of you have had a try and we will compare. There is a lot to cover.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Our dysfunctional planning for the navy of the future

There is some more amusement with the bloated and faulty Air Warfare Destroyer program. A ship that is neither "Air Warfare" or useful.

Australia needs replacement (affordable and good-enough tech) frigates. It also needs patrol boats to take on the boat-people disaster created by Rudd, and messed up more by Gillard. Interesting how the Howard boat-people policy worked.

The faulty thinking RAN wants big amphibious flat-tops and and large destroyers to "protect" them. Without a useful air umbrella over them, the only thing to mark their history will be a war memorial commemorating the loss of scores of sailors and diggers. This cuts to the core of how incredibly irresponsible Defence Bureaucrat Groupthink really is. The end result is billions of dollars in waste, lost lives, lost battles and lost wars.

Fortunately, we know that the $36 billion + home-grown sub program will be a great success and a great war hammer.

As an officer on General Moltke's staff said of Bismark in 1870, "The civil servant in the cuirassier jacket becomes more impudent every day".

U.S. Navy needs a realistic force structure

The U.S. Navy is fielding forces that won't be able to take on high-threat wars. Even Indonesia now has a better anti-ship missile than we do. And for the AEGIS cheerleaders, well, it has to actually be turned on during the few seconds that a threat suddenly appears on the horizon, moving in fast. Good luck.

For real defense of the nation, we have the USMC and the U.S. Navy absorbing funds that are better used in other communities.

The U.S. Navy is wasting money on targets such as the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and Zumwalt I guess the Prince of Wales and Repulse only had a bit of bad luck.

To be fair subs are going in the right direction (we could always use more) and ships like this make good sense.

The LCS and Zumwalt are useless in low threat wars and too risky to use in high-threat wars.

Also, the carrier air wing will get slaughtered in the Pacific Rim in the coming years against high end threats. No one wants to lose thousands of sailors and marines, but that is where the U.S. Navy is headed if we have to take on a big threat.

The U.S. Navy is no where close to recognition of the problem, which means higher than needed casualties, a lost battle, and maybe even a lost war, are almost certain against emerging threats

Stop wasting money on a second land army

A U.S. Marine won the Medal of Honor recently. Well deserved, and then some. Where did he win it? In a location far from any ocean. With the defense budget in dire trouble, we do not need, nor can we pay for, a second land army.

The USMC is useful; but how much?

Amos wrote a letter the other day marketing the USMC to the big DOD boss. The operative word is "marketing". Not mentioned in the letter is that the USMC is doing work that the U.S. Army can and should do.

Amos goes on in the letter to paint faulty, poor and expensive weapons systems as needed and of high value. Examples; being the F-35 and EFV.

Death traps.

The U.S. will struggle to keep amphibious task forces going. They have already. We can't pay for the kinds of large boat exercises common in the past. Additionally the wide spectrum of threats available to take on a USMC boat exercise means that we will see another Tarawa (without the win) against a real threat and for what?

The USMC is described as useful door kicker. Maybe so for wars that don't involve a large traditional threat. The other part, known as the U.S. Navy won't be able to protect them in a big threat war.

Maybe Congress can see through the USMC spin. If not, we will be spending billions to support a weak theory based on WWII history instead of a valid need.

Friday, September 16, 2011

F-35 production cuts

The F-35 program is facing the hard truth about what happens when you don't do your job and produce a go-to-war system anywhere near schedule. For defense business plans, the bigger they are, the harder they fall when they fall apart. Life is tough for Operation: PONZI SCHEME.

There will be no low price simply because there will not be 3000 aircraft made to-schedule. It is possible that we will only see a few hundred produced before the program ends.

Here is a snapshot of what is facing the mistake-jet factory. F-35 production freeze ... or new ice age?

The Senate's appropriations subcommittee now wants to extend the 32-aircraft production plateau into LRIP-7. According to Davis' chart in 2008, the DoD planned to buy 90 F-35s in FY2013, with the partners chipping in for another 42 aircraft.

If the Senate's proposal sticks, F-35 production could be frozen at 32 aircraft for four years straight.

Interesting when you compare it to 2003.

2003 Plan (only 6 LRIP batches).

LRIP 1 starts in 2006 for 10 aircraft
LRIP 2 starts in 2007 for 22 aircraft
LRIP 3 starts in 2008 for 54 aircraft
LRIP 4 starts in 2009 for 91 aircraft
LRIP 5 starts in 2010 for 120 aircraft
LRIP 6 starts in 2011 for 168 aircraft

Total LRIP for 2003 plan: 465 aircraft.

This is the core principle propping up the hopes and dreams of thousands of aircraft at $45 mil (pick the dumb quoted low number, there were many) each.

It gets worse when problems are white-washed.

How about this in 2008 from the fan-boy cheerleaders? Australian Defence Magazine (ADM). JSF: "no miracle needed"
No miracles are required for the Joint Strike Fighter to meet Australia's schedule for entry into service, according to Lockheed Martin.

The chances of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter meeting the RAAF's schedule, budget and capability targets are "good and getting better", according to Tom Burbage, Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and leader of its JSF team.

Burbage was bullish in a presentation to Australian journalists at Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth plant in Texas in early-December last year. But he acknowledged the uncertainty created by the Pentagon's Quadrennial Defence Review and the annual horse-trading between the Pentagon, Congress and the White House over US defence budgets when he added that Lockheed Martin, as prime contractor for the Joint Strike Fighter, has no control over political processes currently under way which could affect the JSF program.

Nevertheless, he told the Australian media contingent that no miracles are needed for the F-35 to meet Australia's schedule, budget and capability requirements and that he personally was very optimistic.

Presently the Unit Recurrent Flyaway Cost of a Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) F-35A is about US$45 million in FY2002 dollars, but Lockheed is aiming to bring this down, Burbage said. On current plans Australia's first F-35A will be handed over in May 2012 with others following later that year. These aircraft will be manufactured as part of the fourth batch of Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) F-35s and Australia will be one of the first of the eight international partners to receive its aircraft.

Emphasis added.

Too funny. And, many times with defence topics, the term "Australian journalist" is an oxymoron.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Media watch- AFR flubs F-35 reporting

Today's Australian Financial Review (AFR) has some errors with their reporting on the status of the F-35.

(click image to make larger)

The story states:

"Australia has already ordered the first 14 joint strike fighters due for delivery from 2014 at a cost of $3.2 billion...".

This is not correct. AFR should try and understand the difference between statements from ill-advised bureaucrats promoted way beyond their ability and an actual order. No money has been handed over for the first 14 aircraft. None should be handed over as the jet is a flying question mark.

The story does report an interesting point. Smith says the F-35 for Australia is in peril if the U.S. chop budget commitment. Sorry Mr. Smith (and fans), you lose.

Global warming scare-mongering

This may have been the prime evidence the con artists in Canberra used to jump on the junk-science band-wagon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wishful thinking will not give Australia credible air power capability

This is an interesting read. Unfortunately it highlights a severe problem of wishful thinking when discussing the alleged go-to-war ability of the F-35.

This belief system that the F-35 is useful or even affordable is backed by a farrago of spin and sophistry that can best be explained here.

Returning back to fast jets...with a Kfir

Here is a great story of a return to fast jets.

Extra challenging with a clean Kfir that demands a bit more attention than most.

Well, it was fun reading it....

F-35-Australia's deception point

It is good that someone from the Business Spectator is looking at the F-35 problem; "Australia's deception point."

However some corrections to the article are in order.

1. The “Official Estimates” in the Liddington-Cox graph are not quite correct and, in fact, the evidentiary statements made by senior defence officials to the Australian people’s representatives in the Parliament show that they were “all over the place” ( This being one example ); and,

2. The APA estimate shown in the graph at the bottom of the article is actually from a 2006 analysis.

F-35 funding cut to 2011 levels for the next 2 years

The Hill "supports" military programs in their own little way. After the overly optimistic (read Ponzi scheme) assumptions and lies to our elected officials don't pan out, they have to pick up the pieces via a death-spiral scenario or cancel it.

More money has been pulled from the F-35 program because of poor performance.

This from AV Week, "Senate Appropriators Slice $700M Off JSF"

The Senate defense appropriations subcommittee, which is led by the full Senate Appropriations Committee’s top Democrat and Republican, continues “to strongly support this program and believes that the F-35 is showing progress since it was restructured last year.” But with too much planned “concurrency” in production and testing, and with testing only 10% complete, the senators call for funding the program at 2011 levels for two more years to limit potential outyear cost growth.

“For each aircraft that we build this early in the test program, we will have to pay many millions to fix the problems that are identified in testing,” Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) said at a 2012 defense markup hearing Sept. 13.

Emphasis mine. How is that 2014-15 scenario looking for you Mr. MacKay? The per-year production doesn't look like this (from the 2007 MOU):


Even the recent MOU production order predictions are faulty to the point of being a joke.

Huge problem.

There is still a Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) to get through. Testing may be "10% complete" but not one weapon has been cleared yet. They don't know how effective the aircraft can be because major war systems depending on huge amounts of software are still not there. The "mistake-jet" syndrome is in full effect. So production gets lowered significantly and the business plan has absolutely no hope of their $60M fighter; with, or without an engine. That sir, is fraud; pure and simple.

The global manufacturing base for this aircraft is hurting. They should have been pushing out a much larger number of widgets by now. Today, investors shouldn't wonder if what they saw on the PowerPoint slide years ago was false and over-optimistic to the point of being misleading.

It is unfortunate that some still can't grasp the problem.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Defence civilian workers will strike today

Defence civilians will strike today over a pay raise issue.

"Our members work on high-profile Defence projects and are proud to help protect our nation and region but they are under-resourced and underpaid for the work that they do. And unless they get the respect they deserve they will be increasingly seeking jobs elsewhere."

Special Minister of State Gary Gray said this week the Government was willing to allow pay rises above 3 per cent a year, but only if staff could find savings within their workplace to fund the increases.

I find it possible that some of them may be underpaid. Given the performance of some sectors of Defence, I don't know about the rest. What happens in the real world (non-Government) when someone fails a project? Do they ask for a pay raise?

Time for MacKay to stop misleading the public

My latest for

Time for MacKay to stop misleading the public


Monday, September 12, 2011

More on the discussion of Australian air-superiority

The discussion continues; although, with a lack of participation by any sane senior Defence leadership.

In Kopp’s assessment, it is because the Australian Department of Defence (ADoD) lacks the internal capacity to properly assess and define Australian air superiority requirements; suggesting that the ADoD has based their next generation platform requirements on “briefings provided by foreign contractors supplying replacement equipment.”

Kopp therefore is not surprised that Canberra is now considering the F/A-18 Super Hornet as a possible gap alternative to the F-35 despite the fact that “the F/A-18F has similar performance and capability deficiencies to the F-35, and is equally incapable of credibly performing against modern regional threats.” In his view, ADoD is just repeating a long-established pattern of behavior in choosing products without aligning them with air superiority requirements

Faulty Australian sub fleet costs $800M per year

The Australian is pressing forward with their version of events even after the Defence response.

"Australia's submarine fleet is the first line of defence in protecting our borders, however it is heading down the same path as our ridiculed amphibious force - missing in action when required," Senator Johnston said.

"We are spending close to $800 million a year on sustaining and operating our ailing submarine fleet with little to show but a succession of embarrassing breakdowns," he said.

Doubtful. Certainly this submarine fleet was never a credible "first line of defence".

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Budget is policy. Strategy does not exist

Roles and missions certainly must change.

Budget is policy.

This from the vendor supported Lexington Institute.

All in all, the Army now deploys sufficient ISR and precision strike systems to provide its own close-in fire support. It is time to take the requirement for close air support off the back of the Air Force, thereby allowing it to focus on the more critical tasks of achieving/maintaining air dominance and conducting long-distance operations.

Improving artillery is always a good idea. Not mentioned by the author is interdiction. That interesting area between strategic targets and close air support that saves lives by plinking all kinds of enemy rear area resources.

Also, drones and attack helicopters are only good in permissive air environments.

And don't forget. The other guy can have precision artillery and surface-to-surface precision missiles. Our rear areas like supply points (and helipads) will be at great risk.

The days of the U.S. suffering a near bloodless victory like Desert Storm in conventional war are a thing of the past.

And, there is no longer any certainty of air superiority.

Nice. Wasting money on a COIN-centric strategy for 10 years.

Real dumb.

Tough work. Operation: Hammer Down in Afghanistan

What is it all for? A recent battle in Afghanistan.

Part 2, Wednesday: Into the 'Valley of Death'
Part 3, Thursday: First Platoon's 'last stand'
Part 4, Friday: A race against daybreak
Part 5, Saturday: What was it all for?

Easy comparison of the risks to the F-35 in air-to-air combat

Russia will field the SU-35. This aircraft and/or its technology will see its way into new export orders. The Chinese will put growth technology improvements into their SU derivatives. There is this idea that the F-35 is not good enough to face emerging threats. And what about the thing I wrote the other day? I don't know. I wasn't there. It does seem possible though.

Let us look at this idea closer. Below is simple chart that I made up. Since I made it up, some may consider it of no value. Maybe akin to the lack of value put forward by marketing people that make up any story to sell a combat aircraft.

The assumptions I use are the following.

1.Comparisons vary. Note that the SU-35 can carry a wide variety of missiles. For this I gave the SU-35 only 4 R-77 radar-homing air-to-air missiles; it can carry more. I also gave it 4 R-73Ms for a total of 8 missiles. The R-73M is a high-off-bore-sight (HOBS) infra-red imaging missile. The closest U.S. analogue to the R-77 is the AIM-120 used by the U.S. F-22, existing legacy aircraft and maybe someday, the F-35.

The comparison assumes that the F-35 will be in its low observable strike configuration. This would be two internal air-to-ground weapons and two air-to-air AIM-120s. Since no weapons have been cleared on the F-35 we don't know what it will end up with. Clearing weapons from those canted bomber doors will not be trivial or high-manoeuvre envelope like the F-22.

2. HOBS infra-red imaging missiles are deadly. The world market now has HOBS missiles that are more lethal than the R-73M. All of these missiles have the ability to reject decoy flares. I give them a much higher probability of kill (PK) than any other missile.

3. PK for the radar missiles are low. In real live combat vs. poor threats, the U.S. AIM-120 PK is around 50 percent. The SU-35 counters this with cross-eye jamming from the wing tips. The SU-35 will also have the performance to reduce the no-escape-zone (NEZ) of enemy missiles before and after they have been fired. Half of 50 percent and then half of that again for the AIM-120 PK.

The nose-on low observability of the F-35 should be good enough to reduce the R-77 down to a poor PK. The distinction of nose-on aspect is important. That is the location of the F-35's low observable strength. The low-observable qualities of the F-35 are matched to be effective against the frequency band of this kind of threat.

4. Both aircraft will be detected. The SU does not have enough low observable quality. The F-35 will not be able to be stealthy against the infra-red-search and track (IRST) and L-band sensors of the big SU.

5. The F-35 does not have the ability to pick its fight once both aircraft are within reach. The SU-35 has the performance to decide when and how it wants to engage the F-35. This concept has not changed since the P-38 and Corsair appeared in the Pacific theater of WWII.

6. The fight assumes that the SU-35 will make it to within-visual-range (WVR) combat. The SU-35 will have a significant agility and performance advantage over the F-35.

7. Both aircraft are networked. Also, network nodes can be geo-located and jammed if support resources exist.

8. Guns are not included in this comparison. Also consider that for some events, the B model and C model F-35 may have left their deck that day without a gun.

From this we can see that HOBS are deadly and that radar missiles can be made ineffective. While the F-35 may carry a lot of external missiles someday, this defeats its reason to exist. Legacy aircraft can do the same. The U.K. (if they ever see their F-35s) will field theirs for internal carry of the AIM-132; a good HOBS missile. I wouldn't depend on the MOD. They are on fiscal death-watch.

In any event, the gross assumptions by the marketing pukes that the F-35 will be lethal in air-to-air combat are just that; marketing.

This goes back to the argument of the F-22; which because of its performance, and stealth quality, is the only aircraft with a chance of being survivable against, yes, "next-generation" threats.

I think it is fair to say that when some people opine that the real limitation to the F-35 is cost and sustainment, they fail to address that what is being marketed is a death-trap against threats the aircraft is likely to see over its alleged service life.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

10 years after 9-11 and no real security

Many years ago, I enjoyed going up in the World Trade Center. Now the World Trade Center is gone.

The news media is doing their best to make big of the 10 year anniversary.

Before 911, we had a budget surplus. Now we are hugely in debt.

The military had a chance to be updated properly after the procurement holidays of the post Cold War. That opportunity has been thrown away on poorly thought out foreign wars including money wasted on contracted war support and nation building. Today's military still needs a lot of improvement.

The wars. I knew the mission was in trouble early-on when we wasted transport aircraft dropping food to civilians who had no purpose in aiding the punitive-mission nature of the conflict.

We started out with small-troops backed by precision air support. Then, got lost and idiots decided it had to be nation-building. This is a wasted effort with tribal societies that don't understand the concept of a central government. Nation building had nothing to do with the original justification for war.

President Bush stated the whole post-911 mission was to get Osama. Just a few months later that changed. He stated it was no longer important.

Bush told us Islam was a religion of peace. Proof shows otherwise. We shouldn't expect much from someone that states “humans and fish” can live together.

911 was caused by poor airport and airline security. It was also caused by poor control of people that have over-stayed their visa. Today, the airport security is partially figured out and the government continues to give preference to illegals.

Operation(s): USELESS DIRT provide no valid defense to the United States. And those wars eat up $2-3 billion per week. Now that a different political party is in charge, media coverage of anti-war protesting gets minimized. I wonder why?

Osama may be gone, but we aren't winning. The reason for that is that there is no sensible leadership that can properly define national security.

Another weak Reuters piece on the fighter market

The F-35 is not a "5th Generation Fighter" unless you count marketing terms.

Some people are starting to figure this out.

Others have not.

"Richard Aboulafia, a fighter market expert at Teal Group, an aerospace consultancy in Fairfax, Virginia, said 5th generation planes did have "identifiable qualities that are superior."

"But individual aircraft are becoming less important than the broader network of sensors and control systems," he said.

Aboulafia might be qualified to comment on commercial aircraft. Historically, his comments on military aircraft have always been weak.

Networks and sensors are not the sole property of the Joint PowerPoint Fighter even if some wish it were so.

Story surfaces of HMAS Farncomb dive and propulsion failure incident (Update-with Defence Response)

The Collins-class submarine continues to add to its poor reputation as a $10 billion dollar dud of little combat worth.

For instance, we had the event back in May where the Defence PR machine writes about great combat effectiveness in an exercise yet the sub in question never showed because it was broke.

It might even be funny if the core-skillsets needed to operate a properly running submarine had big margins for error.

Today, The Australian has a scary story of an incident played down last month as not a big deal by Defence.

Depending on how one interprets the story, it is possible that the Collins-class sub HMAS Farncomb could have been lost with all hands due to an equipment failure.

Given that it is peace-time, I wonder why a sub skipper would not order an immediate surface when there is a propulsion failure at 20 meters?

Update- Defence Response.
Everything normal. Although that doesn't explain the reporting on thoughts by some of the sailors that were there.

Defence, "on the record" statements haven't always been successful.

Friday, September 9, 2011

New transition boss of DMO warns the staff that business as usual is over

The monthly self-serving DMO report is out (PDF) for September. The new DMO helper CEO Mr. King starts off with his first pep talk to the staff which has a different version of history.

"I feel very privileged to be taking on the role as CEO DMO and would like to publicly acknowledge Dr Gumley for his tireless efforts over the last seven years. Both the Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, and the Minister for Defence Materiel, Jason Clare, have commended Dr Gumley for his hard work and dedication. I agree that he did a very difficult job very well. I am determined to pick up where Dr Gumley left off, and take the organisation forward."

Yeah, they say that, but they put the chess pieces in play to force Gumley out. Gumley did such a good job that he ignored key warnings by people trying to show him the location of the rot. Don't weep for the highest paid and under-performing bureaucrat.

Then, King continues until the end by stating DMO staff are not doing their job.

"Our status as a prescribed agency positions us to get our job done, and to achieve outcomes. I encourage you all to conduct yourselves accordingly, especially when working with the broader Defence community, so that the appropriate message is conveyed to our customer base. The strong message to convey is one of working together to contribute to outcomes,not on being separate for our own sake."

If Gumley was such a super-star, why would the self-licking ice-cream cone brigade need to be reminded of this?

This paragraph is worth quoting in full:

"Having said this, I recognise that the DMO does hold deep specialist knowledge in a number of areas. In this specialist adviser role we have an obligation to inform stakeholders across Defence, of issues that will impact on performance. For example, capability managers (and their representatives) need to be informed if they’re being overly optimistic or ambitious with a project. While these conversations aren’t always easy, it is important that this information is conveyed in a professional and engaging manner. In these situations, the emotion and passion has to be removed from the conversation, so that risks and other issues can be clearly understood and action can be taken."

So again, if Gumley was so valuable and the DMO has such "deep specialist knowledge", why would they have to be warned about doing their job in a professional manner? Unless, they were not?

And at this point, I have to quote another paragraph in full because it continues the warning that people in the DMO are not doing their job.

"Every time we put up a cabinet or ministerial submission for procurement or sustainment, we are literally making an offer to do something in a specified time for a specified price. If we get any of this wrong, the military won’t be able to plan for its new capability accurately. It’s far better to be frank with capability managers and explain the complexities or trade-offs involved with a procurement or sustainment contract, than to promise something we physically can’t deliver. Collaboratively engaging with our customer base will make these important, but sometimes difficult,conversations easier."

Heavy stuff. I'd quote the next paragraph, but guess what? It is another warning.

Thank goodness Gumley handed over such a well oiled machine for a seamless transition.

For the new leadership to be successful, they will have to change the toxic reputation DMO has with industry. This will be the "complex" DMO work that has to be done.

U.S. Post Office going broke... bail out time?

Another unsustainable government agency...

Reading lists added to top of blog

Started adding sections at the top of the blog for reading list links. I will expand this more soon.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

AK vs. ballistic protection

Impressive. Considering the ballistics of an AK at that distance.

F-35 defeated in air combat simulation

My latest for

The quarterback is down.

Helicopters for the ADF thread...

Starting this post to put forward the helicopter knowledge of some of our readers like Bushranger; and, starting out with one of his quotes from another post below. I tend to agree. ADF needs a low cost effective solution to do most of the farm chores; even if the Defence bureaucracy and industry prefer gold-plated "solutions" that don't do much especially well. Where, we are now on the path to having a small number of expensive helicopter designs that fail at trying to reinvent the wheel.


"The Hotel model Iroquois upgraded to Huey II and in enhanced Bushranger gunship configuration with full fuel and with a 4 man crew would carry: 9,000 rounds of 7.62mm for twin miniguns, 3,000 rounds for twin doorguns both sides and 500 rounds of 20mm HE for twin low recoil podded NC621 cannon. All of that and around 600 pounds availability for optional fits of FLIR, EOTS, defensive suites, datalink, etcetera. At MOGW, it can hover in ground effect at around 12,000 feet AMSL in ISA+20C. That number crunching is based on info provided by Bell Helicopter.

As at 2007, there were over 5,000 Hotel model Iroquois still in service worldwide and see this link for the AMARC catalogue: - there are likely many more available. Some of the operable ADF fleet are still in storage awaiting disposal.

A Hotel model acquired by Bell from stored reserves and put through their Huey II upgrade program to virtually 'as new' condition costs around $2million, about one tenth of a UH-60M Blackhawk. Unit cost of the Tiger and MRH90 seem rubbery and much higher.

In 2010, I wrote to MinDef pointing out that the ADF was sacrificing Kiowa recce, Iroquois utility and gunship capabilities plus Blackhawk, albeit the latter is undesirably about twice as heavy as a Huey II. The Tiger is inadequate for both the armed scout and gunship roles (I can explain separately) and the MRH90 is categorised as a medium lift platform. I suggested spending just $100million on 50 Huey II to recover diminishing capabilities. The response from a MinDef Advisor was that the Huey II does not meet Australian DoD crashworthiness standards even though increasing numbers (northwards of 200) are entering service around the world in multiple military and civil aviation agency roles.

Australian defence planners seem unappreciative that battlefield helos largely perform pretty basic roles and should desirably be cost-effective and readily maintainable in remote harsh operating locations, like PNG. Also; the increasing technical complexity of all the expensive hardware being acquired, whether aircraft, warships or whatever, is going to drive ADF operating costs off the clock.

Alas, the hard-earned aircraft operating lessons acquired post-WW2 in our rugged wet tropics near neighbourhood and the invaluable combat experience of the Vietnam War seem lost within the 'group thinking' that prevails in Canberra."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Links of interest- U.S. News -

-Leak Offers Look at Efforts by U.S. to Spy on Israel
-Poll illustrates California voters' anger
-Members of debt panel have ties to lobbyists
-After winning key right, gays press for more from military
-French consulate awards 15 WWII veterans in Smyrna

Dead legacy government agencies and paying for it...

The Captains Journal brings up the point about the bloated U.S. Postal Service and a lack of quality reporting by the New York Times.

CJ points out that the NY Times is trying to pass off an opinion piece as reporting; again.

I agree with almost every bit of the CJ post except one little thing. The CJ post mentions all of the government waste and lack of affordability of dead legacy government agencies. True. Yet, if for some reason the postal service was worth saving, we could afford it.

Simply by not spending $2~3 billion per week on dumb, no-win wars.

Dumb career diplomat thinks Afghanistan can be "stable"

These are the kinds of idiots we have in important positions. They think that a tribal culture; a sick tribal culture; can be saved.

He described building a stable Afghanistan as "the ultimate guarantee that there will not be another 9/11."

Mission; ridiculous.

That, and 9/11 was caused by poor airline and airport security along with poor visa control of people that had over-stayed their visit.

But yeah, let us keep going with this fool's errand.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Free-trade disaster

I am not asking anyone to agree with his politics, but isn't it funny how everyone laughed at Ross Perot almost 20 years ago?

Perot remained in the public eye after the election and championed opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), urging voters to listen for the "giant sucking sound" of American jobs heading south to Mexico should NAFTA be ratified.

Yet, here we are with a poor economy. The latest from the NY Times.

I do not believe in free trade. I believe in fair trade. 

Just think of all that lost tax revenue from off-shoring every U.S. job that wasn't nailed down. 

We were warned. Thanks Ross. Even if we were too stupid to listen.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

24 additional Super Hornets for Australia almost certain

Defence is studying their plan-B in response to failure with the F-35 program. If used, this plan-B will be started sometime next year.

The details are sketchy (and not confirmed by additional sources) but the plan-B could be 24 single-seat Block II Super Hornets.

The response by Lockheed Martin is a pack of lies.

The company's F-35 program integration general manager, Tom Burbage, said last month that the Super Hornet price was right up there with the projected $65 million cost per plane of the first 14 F-35s.

The difference was the F-35 was a fifth-generation stealth fighter while the F/A 18 was an old school, fourth-generation design.

The F-35 is not “fifth-generation”; except in the eyes of the marketing pukes. USAF—the supposed biggest buyer of the F-35-- is yet to see anywhere close to “$65 million” for the each aircraft, so that is a lie too. The last LM lie is that the Super Hornet is “old school”. Even though it is the wrong choice for Australia, (neither aircraft can stand up to high-end threats) the Super is a working weapon system. The troubled F-35 is not. The Super is more survivable and more useful than the F-35 which has no credible defensive jamming when stealth goes naked. And, do you want to be in an “old school” Super Hornet or an F-35 when you are over water and one engine quits?

So if the plan-B is taken, Australia will have 24 two-seat and 24 single-seat Super Hornets by around 2016-17. Above the acquisition cost, total support and training expense for each aircraft will be around $12 million per year.

Even if it is not what Australia needs for a valid defence of the nation, the Super Hornet is an easy (read lazy) set of tasks for the entrenched Defence bureaucracy to perform.

Success will be proclaimed by Defence even if the New Air Combat Capability (NACC) office is an example of groupthink and failure.

Success will be proclaimed by Boeing: who devised this plan over 10 years ago.

I suspect that by 2015—if not sooner—we will see another 24 Super Hornets put on order. After all, we don't want the entrenched Defence bureaucracy to hurt themselves thinking too much.

The ills of Australian Defence leadership have a name

This is what Defence has to worry about. A lack of interest in the public funding of faulty defence projects.

Given the poor thinking of Defence—it has a name—the writer of the opinion piece isn't far off.

For instance; the F-35 program is doomed to failure. This PDF from U.S. Fiscal Year 1997 shows that almost all of the assumptions that it was based on are now unachievable. And, if it ever gets delivered, it will be obsolete against the threat.

As for the submarines, Australia doesn't have the skills to properly build warships which are less complicated. The $36 billion dollar fantasy is a bad idea.

Taxpayers and their elected officials will at some point in time have a breaking point. I figure the result of that breaking point will be that Australia will end up with a military capability somewhere in between present day and that of New Zealand's.

Just allow those that have been promoted way beyond their ability to continue with their stupid military procurement decisions.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Another gaff, by another Senator from Lockheed Martin

We can debate the usefulness of the F-35 vs the Super Hornet. And when it is all said and done, the Super Hornet will come up as the winner.

The main reason for this is value. And neither the F-35 nor the Super Hornet are survivable against high end threats.

In trying to justify his campaign contributions, the Senator, when attempting to state the limits of the Super Hornet, instead, describes how the F-35 is a threat to our defense budget.

“ to no value in any future threat scenario and will only drain scarce budgetary resources from systems designed to keep us ahead of our adversaries.”

F-35 structural design flaw will add to program cost and delay

So what are the risks of having the taxpayer hand out money for the production of scores of F-35 aircraft before the design is stable and significant testing is done?


Lockheed F-35 Fighter Has ‘Design Flaw’ in Wing Part, Pentagon Tester Says

It is how the definition of "mistake-jets" works. That is, where they are building lots of aircraft that will later need expensive retro-fits because they didn't have enough production knowledge.

Here is a summary of the problem.

A and B models have a wing flaw. The United States Air Force, and most other nations are the potential customer for the A. The UK was the customer for the B but switched to the U.S. Navy C. The B is the U.S. Marine variant. Italy is considering a mix of A and B models. Great that Defence Minister Smith tells us Australia is trying to get the less-risky A model.

The design flaw is down-played by officials as being non-catastrophic. Although I wonder if it is the kind of flaw you want when in the final stages of a vertical landing with the B model. The problem limits affected aircraft to 1000 flight hours.

"Aircraft produced with the original root rib “must be inspected periodically” and have required repair before approximately 1,000 flight hours."

A retro-fit will have to be performed on completed aircraft and those in the production line. Total; 60.

This flaw will add to overall program cost and delay. I will leave you with this confidence builder from the article. “Little durability testing has actually been completed; therefore, more discovery is possible.”

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Defence hopes for Christmas

Poor reporting aside; Defence shouldn’t be so keen as to think that money is the only thing stopping them from getting the F-35 into service. The system has to work. And, even if it does, it will be obsolete against the threat.

“The United States Air Force will never back away from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter despite fears America's Defence Department may be asked to find almost $1trillion in budget savings by Christmas”

In the area of procurement, the USAF stands on a platform of proven weakness and not strength. USAF plans and programs people have not figured out how to pay for the original number of F-35s they want.

Christmas indeed. Who is naughty and who is nice?

A little bit better reporting here.

"I don't have specifics on cost or schedule issues at this point," Mr Donley said.

"I would say, though, that my understanding of our burden-sharing relationships is that the United States is carrying most of the costs of the restructuring. There is some impact for sure on the mission partners, but we are having to reprogram Air Force dollars and restructure our own programs to adjust to the cost overruns of the last several years. We're anxious to get out of that situation as much as our international partners are."

Of interest; USAF unit procurement of the F-35 does not include R&D, just like F-35 Partner Nations such as Australia. USAF will be the biggest potential buyer by a wide margin compared to anyone else. And they are yet to see the hyped low price on their aircraft.

Here is what the USAF has paid so far for their F-35s. It also shows future projections. And this assumes they get all 1763. This will be an interesting trick when it looks like they will only see a few hundred before the program ends.

How can that be? This was the promise.

Current F-35 production looks like this. Which is a big disconnect from the con-artist claims of 2003.

Buyer beware.

I would say that Australian Defence is now (officially) painted into a corner with the dysfunctional F-35 program. Next year when Smith makes a final decision, the fast jet part of the RAAF--aka the flying club--has a very good chance of looking like this in the coming years.

Not much of a solution.