Thursday, May 31, 2012

Out of uniform

There are a couple of problems with this photo of two air force members (makes no difference if they are guard, active-duty or reserve).

First, I don't have a problem with anyone breast-feeding kids where ever the opportunity presents itself as a necessity.

However, the two people are out of uniform; in public. There are a lot of things that are not in the regulations/instructions on wearing the uniform. So, stating that the regulation or instruction says nothing about breast-feeding is a dodge. The regulations/instructions are clear about what defines correct uniform wear. Also, they are outside not wearing a hat. There is no indication that is a posted no-hat area. Strike two.

What is sad is the person on the right is an NCO and should know better. If one is unsure of why they have to wear the uniform a certain way or think they can freelance to suit themselves, maybe they do not belong in the military.



SME's face the truth about F-35 industry work (or lack of it)

Government and big industry told a fairy tale about thousands of F-35s. Yet things just are not working out that way.

Now SME's are waking up from a happy and unrealistic dream.

"But despite the contracts we have in place, the revenue has not covered the investment, at this point in time," he said. "According to how the build schedule was looking five years ago, there should have been up near 100-plus aircraft being manufactured this year, but with all the delays it is down to 32 aircraft."

Another South Australian company that invested $10m to obtain work on the JSF is now also in difficulty because of delays.

And, Production Parts died last year. BTW, LRIP-5 was supposed to be 120 jets.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

M113 with the USAF

An interesting photo from 2008, Iraq; USAF Security Forces doing perimeter watch with a modified M113.

A user history that goes all the way back to the Vietnam War.


Confidential Dutch plan cuts F-16s to 42, closes one base, to prepare for high F-35 costs

The Dutch are committed to the F-35 program. So much so that political parties backing the effort are attempting to keep a confidential plan quiet until after the September 2012 elections which will see F-16 numbers cut from 68 to 42 and the closing of Airbase Leeuwarden, according to JSF News.

The justification for this plan is to address predicted (and known) high F-35 procurement and operating costs. The time-frame for the plan is between 2014-2016.

The original memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Dutch government and the U.S. Joint Strike Fighter project office projected a procurement of 85 F-35s. With the significant rise in F-35 costs, delay, technical problems and high operating costs, it is possible that 42 will be seen as the number of aircraft needed to replace the F-16s.

A 2007 Lockheed Martin briefing to Israel stated that the F-35 procurement price would be the same as an F-16 and that operating costs would be 20 percent less than an F-16. A variety of recent studies inside and outside of the U.S. Department of Defence do not back up that claim and show much higher procurement and operating costs.

It is expected that Dutch government officials will respond to this as being only a plan or a study and that the ministry of defence will state that it will let the decision rest with the next cabinet period. However, charges that Dutch F-35 advocates have something to hide with the F-16 replacement plan which is a hot-button election issue will be hard to avoid.

Risks for JSF Partner Nations are rising. TR2 hardware--needed to drive Block III software--does not arrive on production aircraft until sometime around 2016 if not later. Software challenges are large. There is no credible production learning curve for the F-35 because there are still so many unknowns. Significant technical problems remain to be solved.

No fully tested and sound go-to-war example of the F-35 is expected until the 2018-2020 time-frame at the earliest.

The long delayed flying training for student pilots has not started at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida because the F-35 is not certified as safe to fly for such an effort. Currently, high-hour test pilots--flying an extremely limited training envelop--are attempting to come up with a process which will allow new F-35 pilots to fly the aircraft safely.

Independent analysts predict that, by design, the F-35 will not be able to take on emerging air power threats and that, as delivered, it will be obsolete.

Typo?

Strange:

Royal Australian Air Force chief Air Marshal Geoff Shepherd defended the purchase after grumbling by rival aircraft-maker Airbus Military that the tender process was unfair.

I thought he retired.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hill Times doing the best they can

They have to eat you know...




Obsolete carrier air wing

The U.S. Navy is starting to realize that it is facing the prospect of taking an obsolete carrier air wing to war.

The Super Hornet won't be up for emerging threats in the Pacific.

The Navy states that the solution against anti-access threats will not depend on just one weapon. The problem is that as far as fighter aircraft off of carriers, they do not have even one weapon to take on such threats.

It gets worse. The F-35 is in no way up for the challenge. By virtue of its operational document drawn up in the 1990's to determine a design need, it was assumed that there would be hundreds of F-22s to take on the high-end threats.

Finally, what the Navy will not say publicly is that the Super Hornet beats the F-35 in every relevant operational metric.

Unless the Just So Failed can someday actually prove otherwise.

And, at what cost?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Human cost

Given the estimates in this article, $1T for veteran's benefits for the recent wars is probably not a reach.

Maybe it is not such a bad idea to skim $50B off of the defense budget each year and put it into the VA budget. As a solution, it will be less fiscal pain than just hoping the problem will go away and/or kick the can down the road to a future generation of tax payers.

"You just can't keep sending people into war five, six or seven times and expect that they're going to come home just fine."

Welcome home.

Think-tank off the mark

A U.S. think-tank has some words to say about the DOD.

There is some pretty accurate stuff (many DOD processes just do not work), and some bad assumptions. The bad assumptions case in point is the F-35.

While external fuel tanks can extend the F-35C’s range, such tanks compromise its stealth and thereby sacrifice an essential attribute. By buying fewer F-35s more quickly, the Navy will revitalize its strike fleet sooner.”

Shrinking the F-35 procurement would free up more money to invest in what might be the Navy’s future - the X-47 unmanned combat drone being developed by Northrop Grumman Corp., the report says.

There is no proof that external fuel tanks will be cleared for the F-35. Money for this development effort was pulled in 2006 because it was too complex and troublesome. The original bad assumption was that it would use legacy F-18 tanks. Once development started, studies and wind-tunnel tests showed this to be high-risk indicating external stores bouncing into each other and the airframe. 3 different elongated tear-drop designs were looked at as a substitute for the legacy F-18 tanks, but they caused different weapons clearance and stores centre-of-gravity issues.

Then there is the issue of aircraft carrier operations. How does the F-35C behave in ship recovery with an asymmetric stores configuration where one tank punched off and the other didn't? How does it act on approach and recovery with both tanks? So at this time, external fuel tanks on the F-35 are far from being a slam-dunk. Interesting is that after the external tank issue was removed from play, PowerPoint sales pukes started hawking how great it was that this aircraft doesn't need external tanks.

Stating that the F-35 needs to be cut down to a magic number of 1000 assumes that the aircraft even works as a useful weapon of war. The jury is out on that one. It is doubtful that the F-35 will be survivable in anti-access scenarios. It is doubtful that it will be affordable (a major goal of the program).

So; why waste limited dollars on building the Littoral Combat Ship of the skies?

The X-47 has to pass OPEVAL in some credible fashion. It is a very bad idea to bank on this as a stalwart capability until there is more solid proof in hand.

The think-tank in question needs to do their homework before making statements on air power issues. They are obviously lacking in this area of understanding.

Confidential government report warns 1,500 SME defence contractors at risk of failure

The dying defence sector SMEs.

This is what happens when you reduce the budget in a specific industry by a large amount."

In part. The other part of that is SMEs were in for a tough go because the Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy told massive fibs to industry about the fantasy of 3000+ F-35s. That: there was up to $9B in home industry work (potential) and every superlative to describe the Just So Failed.

Ask Production Parts how that all worked out. Oh wait. You can't. They are dead.

Corporate carcasses indeed.

M113 low availability due to poor project management and leadership

I really, really do not like having to write stuff like what I will point to below.

I wish it was as easy as the wonderful Orion crew the other day. Make a few comments about something good in a Defence press release and reinforce to the average civilian all the really great things happening in the ADF. BTW, there are a lot of good things happening in the ADF, just that what I am going to illustrate next is to put it mildly; exasperating.

In what one experienced observer of DMO/Defence efforts mentioned to me as, "how not to run a project", we have this new release of an audit (PDF at the jump) on the M113 armoured personnel carrier.

As some of you know, you can do a lot of neat things with M113s and still provide a useful weapons system to the troops. The Army is very lucky in having their very skilled and able personnel and also the Bushmaster which has allowed many a soldier to return home alive.

A modified M113 adds to this powerful ability by given the troops an additional tool in the bag for off-road operations.

The quotes from the audit are just sad. We spend gig-dollars on gold-plated stuff every year and can't even keep M113s going. This is one thing where the Australian spirit (yes, I know I am still the new guy), should be able to come up with solid-home-grown solutions; pat themselves on the back for a job well-done, and move on to the next challenge.

I cringe at the problems of the Navy, hit myself in the head with a hammer over RAAF problems, but there just is no reasonable excuse for getting basic bread and butter things wrong for the Army who have bullets whizzing by their heads, risk IEDs or worse and if they aren't killed, risk severe injury that will be with them all the rest of their days.

The audit states that availability for M113s at the armour school has gone into the ditch. A high percentage of vehicles are not available due to lack of spares, lack of oversight of vendor performance and thus poor project managment. Considering the way senior Defence throws billions in impulsive purchases because the Project of Concern list is hanging around their neck and they feel money must be spent...on something, there is NO credible excuse for APCs to be short of quality spares.

The data indicate that, over the three years to December 2010, the proportion of vehicles at the School of Armour classified as Fully Functional decreased from an average of 62 per cent in 2008 to 38 per cent in 2010, as shown in Figure 5.1. This decline in Fully Functional vehicles was accompanied by an increase in Restricted Use vehicles awaiting repairs that required spare parts.

Defence was unable to provide trend data for the period after December 2010, however, informed ANAO as at March 2012 that the percentage of ‘Fully Functional’ vehicles for the upgraded M113 fleet was 39 per cent, ‘Restricted Use’ was 37 per cent, and Not to be Driven (XX) was 24 per cent. Defence identified that this was above the minimum requirement that 75 per cent of the fleet be classed as at least ‘Restricted Use’.

Take your time. Read the report. And, weigh in. Army officials have put their response at the end of the audit. I would think that if they were better at having their people running inspections, fixes would have already been long in-place on APC spares availability and in-turn because they are flag-ranks, telling the DMO what they can do with their balls-up style of project management.

I could bring up what I think about the DMO, senior Defence leadership and so on. But you know that drill already.

Imagine what the Army could do with $1.4B wasted on the C-27, or up to $1.7B of potential waste for obsolete Super Hornet jamming kit. How much would $214M have helped the M113 issue instead of being wasted on a rent-seeking submarine study?

Things mentioned in the M113 audit are a cancer that we must stop as a core interest in paying attention to the basics. If not, there will be no such thing as national security.

--

Click on the following images to make them larger.







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H/T- Richard

Sunday, May 27, 2012

RAAF AP-3C Orion crew finds and directs rescue of 49 lost at sea

Some really great work by the Orion community!!!

via Defence:
RAAF Orion provided crucial assistance in rescue of MV Solfish 001 passengers and crew

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion passing low overhead offered a new wave of hope for 49 Solomon Islanders stranded in life rafts with no sight of land last Saturday afternoon.

The Orion and its crew had been tasked to support a search and rescue mission in the area on Friday after the 27-metre, island trader MV Solfish 001 failed to arrive at its designated port of Lata earlier in the week.

Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Ash Power said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s, Rescue Coordination Centre – Australia, sought Australian Defence Force assistance in searching a 6,000 square kilometre area to the East South –East of Honiara on Friday.

“With a search area that large, the AP-3C’s unique capabilities, particularly the data captured from sonobuoys, allowed specialists at the Rescue Coordination Centre – Australia to refine the zone, ultimately leading to the successful recovery,” Lieutenant General Power said.

“The aircrew spent hours patiently working through the search zone and coordinating with other aircraft and vessels to firstly find the debris field and then confirm a possible sighting of life rafts – it was a great effort by all involved.”

The crew of the AP3-C identified a debris field on the second day of the effort which allowed further refinement of the search area.

“About two hours after finding the debris, a civilian aircraft reported possible life rafts that were quickly confirmed through a low pass by the RAAF aircrew.

“The confirmation allowed surface vessels to be directed to the five life rafts and recover the 49 Solomon Islanders.”

The RAAF AP-3C returned to the search area on the evening of 26 May, 2012 to coordinate the rescue effort and advise the ship’s master of the life rafts exact location.

Recovery efforts were complete early in the morning of Sunday 27 May, 2012.

The efforts of the RAAF aircrew, personnel at the respective Australian and Solomon Islands Rescue Coordination Centres and aircrew and masters of other aircraft and vessels involved resulted in the safe recovery of 49 people including 10 women and six children.

The Australian Defence Force regularly responds to request for assistance from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.


Media contact:

Defence Media Operations 02 6127 1999

Defence has some really nice Orion photos here.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Spend-thrift Defence faces new budget reality--badly

The Defence project to equip 12 of the 24 RAAF Block II Super Hornets with jamming gear that the U.S. Navy has stated is obsolete against emerging threats has blown out by almost 6-times or $1.4B dollars The Australian has learned.

Back in the Joel Fitzgibbon regime as Defence Minister, the project was supposed to cost $300M. Recently, a U.S. Government Defence proposal has stated this work would cost up to $1.7B.

This conversion which turns a two-seat F-18F Super Hornet into an electronic jamming F-18G would cost Defence and you the tax-payer $142M per jet. This is almost twice the cost of a new F-18F Super Hornet. A new F-18G costs the U.S. Government around $90-100M each.

Defence, uses the argument that the jamming capability of the F-18G was used successfully in last years fight against Libya. This is a crock. Libya's air defence capability was a joke and will be nothing close to the emerging threat picture in the Pacific Rim. Also, the F-18G is draggy, short-ranged and highly dependent on air-refueling resources.

While the F-18G may be fine to electronically jam older (or "legacy") air defence systems from the Soviet-era, the single-seat F-18E Super Hornet and the two-seat F-18F Super Hornet, in their Block II configuration, can already detect, pin-point and destroy this kind of threat. This includes the fact that the on-board jamming system and towed-decoy of the E and F Super Hornet provide outstanding self-defence capability against older threats.

Defence does not seem to be acting in a responsible manner with our tax dollars in the current budget environment.

A few days after the federal budget announcement, Defence spent $1.4B for 10 C-27J light airlift aircraft stating they were a Caribou replacement when they were not. The other reason Defence used justify this purchase was that the C-27J gets into more airfields than a C-130. True, but the C-130J's purchased by Defence were justified as "strategic air-lifters". And, while a variety of aircraft can get into more airfields than a C-130J, there was no formal tender for the C-27J against its world-wide competitor, the Airbus C-295.

Using the justification that they have to make ends meet under the new federal budget, Defence has cut funds used to get single enlisted soldiers fighting in Afghanistan home on leave. These troops in a combat theatre will have to pay for their own flights. The general that helped make this decision, can easily afford such flights.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Yet oxygen thieves still have a job

Interesting.

Yet, our despicable Defence senior leadership can't trim the fat on flag-ranks and senior executive staff. That says it all right there on the quality of senior leadership in Defence.

General Hurley also revealed the number of senior military officers, which has grown by 70 per cent in recent years, would be cut by a dozen jobs when the Afghanistan mission was over in 2014.

Wow, General Hurley. A whole dozen.

Nation-building

Sad state of affairs:

In April, a local utility shut off power to a small cemetery in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands of veterans of wars ranging from the Revolutionary War to World War II are buried after the facility fell behind on its bills. Power was eventually restored to Jersey City & Harsimus Cemetery, home to soldiers from the Civil War.

Yet we have to send billions of tax-dollars to useless shit-holes like Pakistan, Afghanistan and other places.

What is needed is much more nation-building at home. Much more.

The next chicken-hawk that suggests another useless foreign war and/or foreign-aid mission needs to be given a pack and rifle and told to go fight it themselves.

LCS LOL of the year

A find from CDR Salamander. Over to you sir.

"Decommissioning of the remaining 26 FFGs is scheduled to occur prior to FY 2019. The LCS will replace the capacity and capability of the FFG 7-class."

Un-freakin' real. In the future, joint operational commanders will look up at the board, see an LCS and know it brings little or no value and keep it out of the way so it doesn't get itself hurt, or put an operation at risk. Unless that operation is so permissive-threat that it doesn't matter.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Expensive flying machines

Expensive.

Here is a look at some of the costs associated with flying in the ADF.


(click image to make larger)


Via this report by ASPI.

Education

Hey kids, this is what a bloated and faulty defense program looks like. And if the flow of pork and graft is allowed too continue, you may be paying for this obsolete junk well into your retirement.

The tour comes with some additional benefits:

“Why do the other countries hate us?” one of the children asked during the ensuing presentation.

“Some of the other countries don’t like how we are free,” Tech Sgt. Amy Burgess said. “In some places, girls aren’t even allowed to go to school. Can you imagine that?”

Here is something more to imagine kids. Billions of U.S. tax payer dollars go to prop up these countries that have terrible records on women's rights, free-speech and so on.

And they still hate us.

Class dismissed.





Hurry up and wait

Sky Talk reports that the F-35 production isn't slipping much with the on-going strike.

LM has this to say:

“We’re hoping for a mutually beneficial settlement,” DellaVedova said, one that will get workers back in the Fort Worth assembly plant and allow Lockheed to accelerate both production of jets and testing.

I am interested in the word "accelerate". Accelerate from what? LM was behind on deliveries before the strike.

LM is currently delivering low-rate initial production (LRIP) batch 3 aka "LRIP-3" F-35s. The work for LRIP-3 was supposed to end around December 2011 as per these DOD contracts back in 2009:

Principle Contractor: Lockheed Martin Corporation, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company
Date Reported: 3/25/2009
Branch of Service: Navy

Contract Details:
Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded $320,000,000 not to exceed modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract (N00019-08-C-0028). This modification provides for long lead materials and efforts associated with the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Air System Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot III procurement of the required Special Tooling, Special Test Equipment and Technical Assistance. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, (35 percent); El Segundo, Calif., (25 percent); Warton, United Kingdom, (20 percent); Orlando, Fla., (10 percent); Nashua, N.H., (5 percent); and Baltimore, Md., (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in Nov. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

---

Principle Contractor: Lockheed Martin Corporation, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company
Date of Issuance: 6/2/2009
Branch of Service: Navy

Contract Details:
Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $2,106,525,040 modification to definitize the previously awarded Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) air system low rate initial production Lot III advance acquisition contract (N00019-08-C-0028) to a cost-plus-incentive-fee/award-fee contract. This modification provides for the procurement of 7 Air Force conventional take off and landing (CTOL), 7 Marine Corps short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL); 1 CTOL for the Netherlands, and 2 STOVLs for the United Kingdom. In addition, this modification provides for the associated ancillary mission equipment and technical/financial data. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, (35 percent); El Segundo, Calif., (25 percent); Warton, United Kingdom, (20 percent); Orlando, Fla., (10 percent); Nashua, N.H., (5 percent); and Baltimore, Md., (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in Dec. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Air Force ($857,116,227; 40.7 percent); the U.S. Marine Corps, ($877,797,887; 41.7 percent); and the Governments of the Netherlands, ($119,666,120; 5.7 percent) and United Kingdom, ($251,944,806; 11.9 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

---

Principle Contractor: Lockheed Martin Corporation, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company
Date of Issuance: 7/2/2009
Branch of Service: Navy

Contract Details:
Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $441,938,182 modification to definitize the previously awarded Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Air System Low Rate Initial Production Lot III advance acquisition contract (N00019-08-C-0028) to a cost-plus-incentive-fee/award-fee contract. In addition, this modification provides for common and unique performance based logistics support and hardware for the sustainment of seven U.S. Air Force and one Government of the Netherlands Conventional Take-Off and Landing aircraft; seven U.S. Marine Corps and two United Kingdom (UK) Short Take-Off Vertical-Landing aircraft; material necessary to support activation of JSF bases; two Aircraft Systems Maintenance Trainers; one Weapons Loader Trainer; two Full Mission Simulators; one USMC and one UK Deployable Mission Rehearsal Trainer; sixteen LM-STAR avionics test stations; hardware and software for the Integrated Training Center; CVN Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) shipboard certification and deployment; ALIS depot trade study; and associated technical and financial data. Work will be performed in Orlando, Fla. (42 percent); Fort Worth, Texas, (37 percent); El Segundo, Calif., (9 percent); Warton, United Kingdom, (4 percent); Nashua, N.H. (2 percent); Baltimore, Md., (1.5 percent); Cleveland, Ohio, (1.2 percent); Cheltenham, United Kingdom (1.2 percent); Rolling Meadows, Ill., (1.1 percent) and San Diego, Calif., (1 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

---

Principle Contractor: Lockheed Martin Corpany, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company
Date of Issuance: 12/4/2009
Branch of Service: Navy

Contract Details:
Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $329,400,000 modification to the previously awarded Joint Strike Fighter air system low rate initial production Lot III cost-plus-incentive-fee/award-fee contract (N00019-08-C-0028) for special tooling and special test equipment. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (35 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (25 percent); Warton, United Kingdom (20 percent); Orlando, Fla. (10 percent); Nashua, N.H. (5 percent); and Baltimore, Md. (5 percent). Work is expected to be completed in November 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity.

When the last Lot 3 jet is delivered to the customer, we will have a complete gauge of production ability. Until then, LM is running about 5 months behind. None of this counts for the fact that what is being built are mistake-jets which will need a lot of fix-up work. Jets with TR-2 hardware which is needed to run Block III software are not expected until sometime in 2016.

Work for the 32 LRIP-4 aircraft is expected to be completed in March of 2013.

We shall see.



ASPI Defence White Paper delirium

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) comments on the new Defence White Paper.

A few points.

The term "fifth-generation fighter" is useless. Using that term shows a real lack of air power knowledge.

The noise about GDP, 1938 and so on is nonsense. What is important is that Defence consumes 7-8 percent of the federal budget and it gets wasted on silly things. $1.4B for the C-27 which is not a Caribou replacement and was also not purchased as a competitive tender. Other than their word, where are the documents? Two-F-35 mistake-jets. The coming $1.7B of waste for obsolete jamming gear for 12 of our Super Hornets.

And that is just recent.

ASPI is just starting to see the light, but they have a very long way to go. Unless someone is willing to address the incredibly bad advice Defence Ministers receive, the force structure problem will always be half-baked.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Priorities

NATO is having a tough time funding the right mix of troops, ships, aircraft etc.

No wonder; looking at this layout in Chicago:


Low observable


An optical sensor (visual spectrum and non-visual spectrum) dream.

Yet another example of combat risk to the F-35 design. Not easy to solve without a redesign.

And: I have always been curious about those that wrongly claim the F-35 will be able to do anti-access work.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Top U.S. Defense firms deliver weapons with Chinese counterfeit parts

The counterfeit parts problem in major U.S. weapons systems continues:

The Senate Armed Services Committee report uncovered 1,800 cases of counterfeit parts, including parts in the Electromagnetic Interference Filters used in night missions and in operation of "hellfire" missiles on SH-60B Navy helicopters.

They were also found in memory chips in the display systems of C-17 Globemaster III and C-130J military cargo planes, and refurbished ice detection modules on the Navy P-8A Poseidon, modified Boeing 737 aircraft incorporated with anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities.

Democratic Chairman Carl Levin, who launched the report alongside Republican John McCain, says it "outlines how this flood of counterfeit parts, overwhelmingly from China, threatens national security, the safety of our troops and American jobs."
The obvious: some of the above systems are in use by the ADF.

And there is more:

Suspect Display Parts

Two new Air Force C-27J Spartans from New York-based L-3 deployed to Afghanistan had displays with suspect parts, according to the panel.

The committee traced memory chips in the L-3 to the company in Shenzhen, which also delivered an earlier counterfeit part L-3 discovered in October 2009, the panel said.

The Air Force on January 13 suspended the company, Hong Dark Electronic Trade Co., from Pentagon contracting, according to a memo from the service.

“Hong Dark has supplied suspect counterfeit parts” to a middleman who then sold the parts to L-3 Communications, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, among others, Air Force Deputy General Counsel Steven Shaw said in the memo.

Many of the 84,000 electronic parts from Hong Dark have been installed on aircraft such the C-17 transport and helicopters such as the AH-64 Apache and CH-46, according to Shaw.

Lot Samples

After the November hearing, L-3 officials sent samples from 20 lots of parts purchased from the company for independent testing, which confirmed that all except two were suspect, according to the Senate committee.

L-3 also provided the committee an “extensive” list of equipment beyond the C-27J aircraft that contained suspect counterpart parts, such as the Traffic Alert and and Collision Avoidance System for preventing mid-air collisions used on several military programs, including the Global Hawk drone from Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC)

So basically, the RAAFs top U.S. labelled C-130J, C-17 and the upcoming C-27 have some part content issues. Australia is also looking at the P-8A Poseidon. Who knows what else is out there.

Caribou in Afghanistan

Photo-- Turbo-Caribou sighting; Afghanistan.

Maintainers work on the left wingtip of a Vietnam War-era DHC-4 Caribou, operated by Flightworks Inc. at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, May 11, 2012. The charter aircraft drops supplies by parachute to special forces and other clandestine units deployed in hard-to-reach locations around Afghanistan, according to Air Force and Army officials at Bagram. Visible in the foreground are portions of the right wing and tail of an AC-130 gunship. (AFA staff photo by John. A. Tirpak)

Monday, May 21, 2012

STOL ops...PNG

Thanks for everyone taking the time to comment on the C-27 post.

Relax a bit and enjoy this fun flying video.




Afghanistan update. Sort-of

The NATO summit in Chicago, continues to show the inept leadership in action in relation to the Afghanistan fiasco known as Operation: USELESS DIRT.

Our military and political leaders do not understand the dynamics. Unless Pakistan was to be all on-board, the effort has no hope of producing a stable Afghanistan government. And even that possibility is slim. Which with less hope comes the impossibility of having a stable central government in a region that has no concept or zero respect for such an organisation.

Warlords and tribal law trump everything.

The U.S. House just passed an outrageous defense budget. Hopefully it will get shot to pieces. It has extra spending on faulty weapons systems and around $100B on war spending. For a war that has no hope of being won. Especially with our Pakistan supply-chain making a mockery of the whole campaign.

The corruption in Pakistan and Afghanistan is rife.

They can't help it. That is the way they are.

That is the way we should leave them.

Sooner, rather than later.

Continue to wave your taxpayer dollars good-bye.

For no gain.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Air-Sea Battle concept ideas

There are many wasteful spending projects that take away needed funds for the Air-Sea Battle concept marketed by the Pentagon. The following is a list of items that work against the Air-Sea Battle concept.

1. The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The LCS is a disaster in the making. It is taking food from the mouths of Navy programs that actually work and provide real combat value.

2. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The F-35 (by design) will not be able to take on emerging threats. It is too expensive to use for any other kind of threat already taken care of by today's platforms.

3. DDX-Zumwalt "Destroyer". The best thing to do with this program would be to cut the losses and scrape it now. It will be too expensive to operate; consumes crew that could be better used elsewhere. It is not especially difficult to sink. We should not't make our ships so expensive least we lose one.

4. Kill the new long range bomber concept in its current dream-form. It will be (surprise) unaffordable and unsurvivable against modern IADS ("integrated" being the most important word).

5. Retire cruisers. They consume manpower and resources best used for other needed missions and only provide a juicy target in a big war. They are too expensive to operate in lower threat environments.

6. End U.S. participation in NATO. World War II is long over. The Soviet threat is long gone. NATO consumes too much money best used for other things. With this comes the removal of U.S. forces from Europe.

Where money needs to be invested to support the Air-Sea Battle concept:

1. A new long range bomber, but built to be: a. Drop stand-off weapons vs. anti-access threats; b. Have reasonable self-defense jamming against legacy threats. c. Be highly useful against low-end threats (range and persistence); d. Be built using common airliner technology.

2. Invest in an all nuclear-powered carrier strike group. This, while expensive, will lower the operational stress on fossil-fuel logistics. This means the need for a nuclear powered destroyer. The weapons systems it uses should be based on proven technology. A one-for-one mimic of Burke-class weapons-systems would be fine.

Remember those days?



3. Invest in conventional, small AIP submarines. These would have limited use but they would free up the nuke-subs for other missions only they can do. Conventional subs would be based out of Japan, Korea, Australia, Guam, Hawaii and would even see deployments out of the Philippines. So, given transit and down-time, about 60 would be useful.

4. Refurbish and field more P-3 Orions. The P-8 will be useful but will not be a perfect replacement for the P-3. Have both platforms compliment each other and not compete. In addition, P-3s are also already established as useful COIN-ISR helpers. Retiring the P-3 leaves a few holes in capability.

5. Bring back the S-3 to the carrier air wing; both for ASW and ISR work.

6. Every C-130 (no matter the service) that does general trash-hauling work in the Pacific needs to be Harvest Hawk capable. The C-17 does (and will continue to do so) take a lot of business away from C-130s. When using the C-130 for what it best does; best to have it multi-functional capable so as to be flexible.

7. Qualify the Tomahawk Block-IV on the B-52 and new long-range bomber. This weapon is already established in the Navy battle network and gives more joint flexibility than JASSM.

8. Do more deployments to the Philippines and Australia. This sends a message to the communists and their political fan-base abroad. Add to that; more joint routine exercises throughout the Pacific Rim.

9. Do routine (like #8, this takes extra ops funding) drive-bys of carrier battle groups through the South China Sea. As a message. This problem has to be nipped in the bud today. A strong position from the U.S. on this would be helpful.

10. USMC fast-jet air will only be Super Hornet Block IIs. No hand-me-downs. Every 4th jet squadron that rides on a carrier will be USMC with 2-seat Super Hornets.

11. Take a harder line on North Korea. The message should be: step out of line and it is a matter for the JDAM-party committee. This includes bullying all naval and air traffic in and out of the NK. "Excuse me sir. Do you know why I pulled you over? Your tail-light does't work. Would you mind stepping out of the car? I have to conduct a safety check."

That of course is not everything but it is a start. It sure beats platitude and faith-based ideas which can only lead to major war.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Germany...

"...guaranteed availability of military capabilities are hardly possible in a country which requires parliamentary approval for military missions."
Not a sin but a benefit.

And, NATO is looking for a reason to exist as opposed to providing any value.

Berlin is also expected to lose the position of deputy commander of the Allied Air Command in Ramstein in southwestern Germany. This, says a senior Bundeswehr officer, can clearly be interpreted as "payback for Libya."

Good. If Germany isn't appreciated, they can kick NATO forces out. WWII is long over and the Soviet threat is gone.

Canada slow to wake up to the lie

Interesting how long information like this takes to reach the Canadian media (it isn't winter).

Telling us all something we already knew. That is, that the F-35 was never going to be cheaper to operate than legacy aircraft. Even though (for years) F-35 sales brief specifically stated that an F-35 would be cheaper to own and operate than a legacy F-18 and legacy F-16.

The U.S. Government figures the F-35 cost per flying hour as follows:

F-35A = $35,200
F-35B = $38,400
F-35C = $36,300

I hope this doesn't get in the way of any media outlets losing ad-sales dollars:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Faith-based cheerleaders and air power dead weights

The F-35B won't be able to meet USAF sortie rate expectations.

The US Air Force has concluded that the short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) Lockheed Martin F-35B- model aircraft cannot generate enough sorties to meet its needs; therefore the service will not consider replacing the Fairchild Republic A-10 Warthog close air support jet with that variant.

And by design, no F-35 variant can achieve high-sortie rates. With things like an integrated power pack (IPP) which is having up-time problems, there is no way the F-35 will meet its high mission capability (MC) rates in the plus-90 percent region which are a key performance perimeter (KPP).

But then the leader of the absence of air power knowledge has this to say:

"The F-35B is well-suited to support of the Marine Air Ground Taskforce (MAGTF) in very austere locations," says USAF chief of staff Gen Norton Schwartz, speaking at an event hosted by the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. "But the reality is, is that scenario is not a high sortie generation scenario."

I'm glad this guy is leaving. He contributes nothing on this topic. The whole idea of USMC STOVL ops is high-sortie rate and being close to the battlefield. On other point, the F-35B is not "well-suited" for this mission because it is unreliable, expensive, faulty, and is yet to prove it can operate in such an environment. Faith-based PowerPoint is not real.

A retired member of the United States Marketing Corps chimes in:

Retired Lt Gen George Trautman, a former US Marine Corps (USMC) deputy commandant for aviation, disputes Schwartz's assertion that the F-35B cannot generate as many sorties as the A or C model aircraft.

"The F35B has highest sortie generation rate among the three JSF [Joint Strike Fighter] variants," Trautman says. "There may be other reasons the air force doesn't want the B, but sortie rate isn't a factor."

No it is not the "highest sortie generation rate among the three JSF variants", (or any variant) because there is no proof to back up the faith.

The key performance parameters (KPP) for the F-35 require higher sortie rates for the B-model at four sorties per day. The A and C models are only required to generate three sorties per day.


Good luck with that. And 7-tons of gas for every sortie out of an "austere" base.



Combat leader's dereliction of duty

Out of uniform (no helmet in a combat-zone) and thus also unsafe, a silly scarf (also out of uniform) to appease idiots. So what happens if an IED hits or a mortar round or whatever, and this person gets injured or killed in a situation where wearing a helmet would have helped?

Also, someone who is injured because they were not wearing a helmet is unsafe to their squad-mates as they are unable to help others in combat and or now take two or three other people to recover their dumb-ass.

I have nothing but contempt for senior leadership that allows something like this to happen.

Caption for linked photo: "U.S. Army Pfc. Kristina Batty dons a headscarf to meet with female Afghan villagers in Afghanistan's southern Ghazni province, May 5, 2012. Batty, a medic for a female engagement team, is assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod"

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stars for hire

The following is a good review of what some of us already know. The reason you really want to make flag-rank isn't the military per-se, and while the retirement pay is top-notch, your post military employment prospects are pretty good:

An hour after the official ceremony marking the end of his 35-year career in the Air Force, General Gregory “Speedy’’ Martin returned to his quarters to swap his dress uniform for golf attire. He was ready for his first tee time as a retired four-star general.

But almost as soon as he closed the door that day in 2005 his phone rang. It was an executive at Northrop Grumman, asking if he was interested in working for the manufacturer of the B-2 stealth bomber as a paid consultant. A few weeks later, Martin received another call. This time it was the Pentagon, asking him to join a top-secret Air Force panel studying the future of stealth aircraft technology.

Martin was understandably in demand, having been the general in charge of all Air Force weapons programs, including the B-2, for the previous four years.

He said yes to both offers.

In almost any other realm it would seem a clear conflict of interest — pitting his duty to the US military against the interests of his employer — not to mention a revolving-door sprint from uniformed responsibilities to private paid advocacy.

But this is the Pentagon where, a Globe review has found, such apparent conflicts are a routine fact of life at the lucrative nexus between the defense procurement system, which spends hundreds of billions of dollars a year, and the industry that feasts on those riches. And almost nothing is ever done about it.

The Globe analyzed the career paths of 750 of the highest ranking generals and admirals who retired during the last two decades and found that, for most, moving into what many in Washington call the “rent-a-general’’ business is all but irresistible.

From 2004 through 2008, 80 percent of retiring three- and four-star officers went to work as consultants or defense executives, according to the Globe analysis. That compares with less than 50 percent who followed that path a decade earlier, from 1994 to 1998.

In some years, the move from general staff to industry is a virtual clean sweep. Thirty-four out of 39 three- and four-star generals and admirals who retired in 2007 are now working in defense roles — nearly 90 percent.

You can also bet that for problems like this, our hired gun has the solution.

Raytheon Chairman and CEO William H. Swanson said in a written statement, ”General Cartwright’s deep understanding of defense and broad experience in military operations and matters of national security will be of great value to our Board.”

And, back to the Boston Globe piece:

The generals are, in many cases, recruited for private sector roles well before they retire, raising questions about their independence and judgment while still in uniform. The Pentagon is aware and even supports this practice.



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Game-fraud sim generates interest to the clueless

In another effort of irresponsible copy-paste reporting we have this from The Canberra Times wooing over what is not much more than an F-35 game simulator.

The effort of this simulator has no other purpose than to generate interest in the cause to the gullible.

The test-pilot (of whom he and his peer group now have a post-flight checklist that includes quotes from a press-release) is not in a representative F-35 environment.

The F-35 depends on a sensor display helmet which at this time is faulty and worse, a major key performance perimeter (KPP) of the program.

The game-fraud simulator also doesn't have the known thermal issues with the aircraft, faulty equipment like the integrated power-pack (IPP) or a mountain of operational software issues to get over.

It always wins.

Funny too is this over the Super Hornet. Well, well. If it is so great, why do we even need the Just So Failed?

Enjoy the irresponsible hype.

You paid for it.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Easy way to destroy NATO air power

The desperation of the F-35 cheer-leading squad continues:

One of smartest examples of the practical pooling of assets is the international program for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. A number of NATO allies including Great Britain, Italy, Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Turkey are not only acquiring the Joint Strike Fighter but are participating in the development and production of the aircraft. At least for now, Great Britain is the only other country besides the United States that is acquiring the STOVL variant, the F-35B.

Not only does the international program reduce the cost of acquiring fifth-generation fighters for all participants, but there will be tremendous advantages to be gained by virtue of the global supply chain, availability of shared facilities and standardized procedures. When it comes to conducting actual combat operations, the “pool” of F-35s in NATO will be one of the smartest defense investments the alliance has ever made.


—-
Daniel Goure, Ph.D.
Early Warning Blog, Lexington Institute
----

Given the lack of money everywhere, the "joint" solution calls for the Gripen. Or, just sign up for the F-35 so it can destroy a shrinking defense budget situation by gobbling up any money available for less than half the aircraft planned. As a "combat" force, it will be mostly defective.

Weekend fear

The Australian's Weekend Edition is a weekend omission.

In a Defence piece by Greg Sheridan called "Our forces reduced to impotence", the message is fear-mongering. The latest budget and the Labor government have destroyed Defence. And isn't it a shame that the Defence White Paper of 2009 isn't being followed? The fact that Defence leadership has made significant procurement errors over the years isn't mentioned.

The article spreads over 8 columns and goes on to another page. The online version is here.

Lots of words. No real substance.

First, the Defence White Paper of 2009. It was garbage when it came out. I painted it as such, and was, unfortunately correct. Sheridan defends one of its authors Mr. Babbage; who back in 2007, seemed to be all glowing about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It would be powerful because it had networking and gosh, that would make us superior that is for sure. Unfortunately for Babbage, flying the flag of the system-of-systems approach only works when your assumptions are sound. Otherwise it turns into the South-side product of a North-bound bovine. Babbage also ignored the fact that an enemy has a will of their own, funding (and the ability) to create combat networks and jam ours. The U.S., the most experienced user of net-centric-warfare, knows the limitations. This, Babbage didn't see fit to mention to Parliament or anyone else. This assumes he even had knowledge of such things.

Combat networking isn't owned by the "fifth-generation-fighter" dreamers.

Not mentioned by Sheridan (and Babbage) are the staggering F-35 development problems. Sheridan presses on trying to make the reader believe the F-35 is better than the Super Hornet, and that the Super is good for 10 years against the threat and the solution is that we need to get those Joint Strike Failures.

This is a Sheridan (or whoever told him this) fiction.

The Super Hornet dominates the F-35 in every operational need for a joint coalition commander. The F-35 can only sprinkle fairy dust in hoping that it will be more survivable or even useful. And, the F-35 is in no way, just a smaller F-22. If Sheridan's view is that the Super Hornet will not be able to take on emerging threats in 10 years, the F-35 will fare worse. The F-35 is too defective (by the very nature of its design) to handle emerging threats and is too expensive to own and operate for lesser threats handled just fine by today's technology.

Sheridan goes on to mention the 12 rent-seeking replacements for the Collins class submarines. Not mentioned is that Australia is unable to crew 6 boats let alone 12. One would think that from the beginning, one would want to see proof of life on the ability to crew 6 submarines before building 12.

While Labor might not be the brightest tool in the bag on Defence issues, at least their extreme red-ways of this current government have started to chop the Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy into a manner of where they will have to spend within their means. I say that, but the Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy just spent over 3-times the money for a light transport aircraft versus a competing product ($1B over); and was even silly enough to think it was a valid Caribou replacement when it was not. They also just threw away $214M on a submarine study for the rent-seekers when that same money would have made a nice down-payment on an off-the shelf sub. The Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy also wants to waste hundreds of millions on obsolete jamming gear for 12 Super Hornets. The Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy has a gross excess of star-ranked officers and senior-service executives. And yes, why do we need 7000 DMO employees for military procurement?

I don't believe the cry-me-a-river routine by those refusing to look in the mirror and neither should you.

The sad thing is that many will read The Australian article and believe it.

Some of the "defence" writers in this part of the world need help. Their imaginative writing (or is it fear of being cut off from Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy sources?) is only white-wash which fails to illuminate the weaknesses of today's senior Defence planners (and White Paper hacks) along with their choice of faulty and expensive weapons systems that don't contribute to national security.

More investigative journalism has to be done on why the Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy wastes so much money for so little value. Being an advocate for change by reporting accurately is valuable. Being an advocate for the faulty Entrenched Defence Bureacracy is a disservice to this nation.

Revolvers

Here is an interesting opinion by two loyal Americans on how the F-35 is a good thing. Not much of it is accurate when compared to what we know so far, but it got some space in a news outlet. The best thing to quote is at the end:

Retired Gen. John D.W. Corley served as the U.S. Air Force vice chief of staff, commander of Air Combat Command and senior uniformed acquisition official. Retired Gen. William R. Looney III commanded the U.S. Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command and the service’s Aeronautical and Electronics Systems Centers. Both are consultants to Lockheed Martin, prime contractor for the F-35.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Supporting the Army

One would have hoped the USAF would want to support U.S. Army airlift requirements for Afghanistan.

I guess not.

Here in 2007 the Army gets a supply run from a private contractor (flying a C212) working for Blackwater, Xe or whatever they are called these days. 


(click image to make larger)

Smith and the C-27 decision

More here of how Defence selected the C-27. It does sound like a weak process.

"Selection of the C-27J for $1.4 billion appears to have been based largely on the RAAFs own desktop assessments. This effort falls short of a full evaluation process."

Airbus said it could have had planes ready for delivery in six months - not three years - and that they would have cost a third of what is going to paid for the C-27J.

Besides the way the procurement was done, was the value perceived by Defence worth 3 times the cost? Was it worth twice the cost?

Below is a cool video illustrating the multi-mission palletized system for the C-295 for use as SAR, ISR, and light cargo. Note: SAR/ISR was never stated in the Defence requirement.

Clarification on my previous post with C-295 endurance figures. When suited up as a dedicated ISR/ASW aircraft, the C-295 has 11 hours of endurance. Don't know what the endurance is with the palletized solution.




ECM

One of the smartest things stated by Loren Thompson in a long time:

“We’ve used up our technological margin,” says defense analyst and Lexington Institute CEO Loren Thompson. “China passed the United States in the manufacture of electronics in 2006. I think the message there is that the rest of the world now understands the electromagnetic spectrum as well as we do. They may not be spending as much on EW but they’re going to be pretty imaginative. You can no longer assume that the threat is going to be isolated in a handful of waveforms or frequencies. You need to be ready to cover the entire spectrum.”

Friday, May 11, 2012

Constant schedule movement to the right

The F-35 experience:

JOURNALIST: 2021-2022?

STEPHEN SMITH: I'm not putting a time on that.

JOURNALIST: Just quickly-

STEPHEN SMITH: I'm not putting a time on that, because as everyone knows, the experience of the Joint Strike Fighter has been constant schedule movement to the right.

ADF--It is expensive, it must be good?

Plane Talking has a letter from the maker of the C-295 in response to the C-27 choice by Defence. And, it can't all be labelled as sour-grapes. The decision was pre-determined. There was no fly-off.

First, neither the C-295 or the C-27 are a Caribou replacement. While the C-27 may be able to get to a lot more airfields in the ADF area of interest compared to a C-130, there are some rugged areas that the Caribou can (and did) get to just fine. The Caribou is a true short-take-off-and-landing (STOL) light airlifter.

The Caribou was pushed aside because it was not new and there was no new-car smell. It could have been refurbished with turbine-engines and given (kept) our soft-power (and Special Forces) with plenty of options in the tool bag.

Right after the controversial budget announcement proclaiming $5.4B in Defence cuts earlier in the week, the Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy completes the deal for 10 C-27J aircraft at the cost of $1.4B. Now, most of us know that includes a lot of the things you need to operate the aircraft in squadron service, but the fact remains that neither the C-295 or C-27 are a Caribou replacement.

So if it is not a Caribou replacement, what is it? It is a light airlifter that can get into more airfields than a C-130.

Compared to the Airbus, the C-27 is more expensive to operate (it consumes a lot more gas and more expensive spares) has better self-defense gear against things like man-portable-air-defense (MANPADS) and in a pinch has better one-engine performance.

The C-27 is shorter in pallet carry ability (3 vs 5 in the C-295) however the cargo hold is slightly taller and wider.

The C-27 will probably be useful for something, but I am more in the C-295 (and similar) family of aircraft for this "Caribou replacement". The Airbus aircraft has more variants to take advantage of in the larger force-structure picture. Variants can be not only light airlift but maritime search and rescue (SAR) or maritime intelligence surveillance reconnaissance (ISR). These kinds of aircraft are in use by other countries. While slower, the Airbus has more endurance (12 hours) vs. about 9 hours for the C-27.

With Defence getting rid of the 12 C-130H aircraft, the ADF will have a mix of C-27J, C-130J and C-17 aircraft.

The closest thing to a "Caribou replacement" will be the CH-47 helicopter.

One may label the C-27J as another Defence mistake. However, given the class-curve against other massive procurement mistakes, it will go largely unnoticed.

RAAF boss practices deception; or just doesn't know

The top RAAF boss makes some statements that lack credibility.

He states that the Growler upgrade for 12 of our 24 Super Hornets is a good idea, when in fact, such an effort will be a waste of money.

He states this about the F-35:

Air Marshal Brown said the fifth-generation JSF would meet Australia's needs for many decades, providing control of the air across the entire spectrum of conflict.

No evidence. The fifth-generation meme is just valueless. Worse, Brown tries to imply that just because an F-22 will clear the table of all threats, that the same can be done with the F-35.

The F-35 is not just a smaller F-22.

The F-35--by defects in its design--will not be combat effective for Australia's (or anyone else's) needs.

In an effort to save money for the ADF, I can think of one star-ranked officer that isn't up for the job and needs to find a different line of work. A star-ranked officer spreading disinformation, or just being badly informed (pick one) doesn't add any value to the defence of the nation.


Additional reading (PDF files):

Review of the Defence Annual Report 2010-2011

--Submission 2--“CHECKING THE DATA & THE FACTS;. . . .THEN TESTING THE EVIDENCE” a.k.a. TRUTH DERIVED FROM DATA & FACTS VS A TOTAL INDIFFERENCE TO WHAT IS REAL

--Submission 3--THE EVOLVING THREAT ENVIRONMENT Reference Threat Capabilities versus the Joint Strike Fighter (Materialised Predictions from APA Founders’ Threat Assessments dating back to Circa 1998)

--Submission 5--F-35 JSF Air Combat Capability Information for Defence Sub-Committee Members

--Submission 6--From Mr. Erik Peacock, To the secretariat, Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Review of the Defence Annual Report 2010-2011

--Submission 7--Answers to the 07 February 2012 Defence Sub-Committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Simulation assumptions, issues and visualisation, REPSIM Pty Ltd

--Submission 9--There is Nothing Normal nor Usual let alone Standard about the JSF . . .

--Submission 10--RE: APA Submission No 4 to the JSCFADT Hearings into the JSF - Thana Marketing, KPIs and the JSF Program

--Submission 11--ASSESSING THE EVIDENCE PROVIDED BY AVM KYM OSLEY, NEW AIR COMBAT CAPABILITY PROJECT MANAGER

--Submission 12--COMPLAINT REGARDING THE PRESENTATION BY AVM KYM OSLEY,DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE AND LOCKHEED MARTIN REGARDING REPSIM PTY LTD



DMO bloat

Great budget reply speech by Abbott.

And:

Why does the Defence Materiel Organisation need 7000 bureaucrats especially when major equipment purchases are being put off?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

USAF boss General Schwartz argument about not needing C-27 is shot down by Australia

The boss of the USAF is wrong.

Again.

Australia will purchase 10 C-27J aircraft. Read the reasons why below from the Defence press release. Note the airfield comparison metrics between the C-130 and C-27.

Schwartz (never a 4-star genius on air power issues) assumes America will never need to get into airfields unavailable to the C-130.

Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Materiel – Joint Media Release – New Battlefield aircraft for the Air Force

10 May 2012

Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that the Government had agreed to purchase 10 Alenia C-27J Spartan Battlefield Airlift aircraft at a cost of $1.4 billion.

The C-27J will replace the Caribou aircraft which was retired from service in 2009 after a career spanning more than four decades. The C-27J complements the capabilities of the C-130 and C-17 aircraft and uses common infrastructure and aircraft systems such as engines, avionics and the cargo handling systems.

The acquisition of the C-27J will significantly improve the ADF’s ability to move troops, equipment and supplies. The C-27J has the capacity to carry significant load and still access small, soft, narrow runways that are too short for the C-130J or runways which are unable to sustain repeated use of larger aircraft.

In Australia, the C-27J can access over 1900 airfields compared to around 500 for the C-130 Hercules aircraft. In our region, the C-27J will be able to access over 400 airfields compared to around 200 for the C‑130 Hercules aircraft.

These aircraft will provide battlefield airlift but are also capable of conducting airlift in our region. They will be able to operate from rudimentary airstrips in Australia and overseas and will be able to support humanitarian missions in remote locations.

The flexibility of the C-27J allows it to undertake a wide range of missions from delivering ammunition to front line troops to undertaking aero-medical evacuation of causalities.

A Battlefield Airlifter needs to be able to operate in a high threat environment. The C-27J with its missile warning systems, electronic self protection, secure communications and battlefield armour provides protection from threats ranging from small arms to highly lethal man portable air defence systems (MANPADS).

The C-27J was assessed by Defence as the aircraft which best met all the essential capability requirements and provides the best value for money. It was assessed as being able to fly further, faster, higher while carrying more cargo and requiring a smaller runway than the other aircraft under consideration, the Airbus Military C-295.

The acquisition of the 10 C-27J aircraft with associated support equipment will be conducted through a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) arrangement with the United States (US) at a cost of around $1.4 billion. The first aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2015 with the Initial Operating Capability scheduled for the end of 2016.

Initial logistic support, including training for aircrew and maintenance personnel will be provided through the FMS program, utilising the system that has been established in the US. Defence will seek a separate agreement with the C-27J manufacturer, Alenia, in order to ensure that RAAF can operate, maintain and modify the aircraft throughout its planned life.

Since the retirement of the Caribou fleet in 2009, Australia’s military airlift capability has comprised C‑17 heavy lift aircraft, C‑130 H and J model Hercules aircraft, the Interim Light Transport aircraft (8 Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft) and Navy and Army helicopters.

In the Budget the Government announced the retirement of the C-130H, which will proceed in an orderly fashion over the course of the year.

The 10 C-27J will be based in Richmond.

Media Contacts:

Mr Smith’s Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392

Mr Clare’s Office: Korena Flanagan (02) 6277 7620 or 0418 251 316

Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

Canadian industry prefers building defective F-35 over national security

Canadian industry prefers having the gravy train going on a the defective F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Even if memes like 'fifth-generation fighter' are useless.

One of the top bureaucrats in Ottawa’s new national fighter jet secretariat, Tom Ring, told a meeting of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada this week that he is hoping for less media coverage as the new federal body is being established.

Mr. Ring, assistant deputy minister of acquisitions, spoke to the AIAC to explain the Harper government’s seven-point plan, which was established in reaction to last month’s hard-hitting report by the Auditor-General into the muddled process to date to purchase the fighter jets.

Sources said his message included an attempt to persuade the aerospace industry to avoid rocking the boat. A person at the event said: “Tom [Ring] would like to let the noise on the file die down.”

Another source at the meeting said that Mr. Ring mentioned “there has been lots of media reports – including many that are not accurate – and it wouldn’t be helpful to add to those in the near term as the secretariat takes time to get organized.”

Yeah there have been a lot of media reports that are not accurate. However I don't think Mr. Ring has an understanding of that statement.

DOD commits to myth

How many times does the DOD have to show commitment to the F-35 folly?

After reading that, have a look at this must-read on 'fifth-generation' and other myths of the F-35 program.

Defence--live within a budget

New news: Defence has to live within a realistic budget. THAT is your Defence White Paper in a nutshell and not the 2009 fantasy.

Budget is policy.

The effects on Defence from Tuesday's budget announcement shows that senior leadership is making both good and bad decisions on force structure cuts.

The Australian reports that some of the Army's M-1 tanks will go into storage. The article states that no reason was given. I have a few ideas on that. They drink fuel like mad, making for expensive upkeep when there are other more pressing operational demands.

C-130Hs will be retired. 4 of the 12 were already parked. The RAAF has J models and the whole of the C-130 community is having some of its business taken away by C-17 ops. I would be interested on the life (airframe hours) of the H community. A shame they can't be refurbished and turned into maritime ISR assets or other flavours of C-130 conversions.

The F-35 has been delayed. A good move. A better move would be to cancel it since by-design, it will never be combat effective against high-end threats and current aircraft can do the job better against any other kind of threat.

Sad is that Defence options for the air power roadmap seem to be that of air-policing and light strike work.

So be it.

The Gripen costs less than half of what it takes to run a Super Hornet in cost per flying hour. Defence states that the Super-F is currently trending at A$23,000 per flying hour. Classic Hornet around A$18,000 per flying hour. By inflating the Gripen cost per flying hour--assuming a contract screw-ups by the Defence Material Organisation (DMO) right off the bat--you get around A$10,000 per flying hour.

The Gripen can be turned for the next mission in 10 minutes. We don't even need the next-gen Gripen. The C/D will be OK.

For around $9B with 10 years of cost per flying hour, weapons, initial spares and training, facilities, 10pc contingency, $500M in hand-outs to local industry, we can replace most of the legacy Hornet fleet with Gripens.

So you want to fight big wars? Great. Pony up some funds for annual deployment training exercises from the U.S. which would include F-22s, F-15Es, B-1s, B-2s, and so-on.

ANZUS membership has its privileges.

Funds for jamming gear for 12 of the Super-Hornets to make them G-model "Growlers" has been put off. A better move would be to cancel this effort altogether because the U.S. Navy has stated on two occasions that it is obsolete kit.

Money has been wasted to the tune of $214M to do a submarine replacement study. The White Paper fantasy of 12 subs was a made-up number. Two issues here: Order 6 off-the-shelf subs. 6 because until Defence can prove they can crew up to that level, it is the limit. The $214M would have been better spent as a down-payment on an off-the-shelf sub. Opportunity lost for the sake of buying votes.

Defence should only start projects that can be realistically completed; and produce real value. By that measure, the F-35 effort or refurbishing classics Hornets, are disqualified. So is the home-grown sub-fantasy.

There are other places to put cuts. I would take-aim at the bloat of star-rank officers, senior-executives and civilian workforce chair-warmers.

With the right kind of management, working inside the recent budget isn't a problem. The problem is getting the right kind of work out of the Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy.

Navy refuses to recognize that the LCS is a failure


Poor thinking; poor planning and defective design work. That is the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).

Take a look over at Aviation Week on some of the best reporting I have seen in a long time for a trade-press-magazine.

Michael Fabey writes about the LCS program project management incompetence with the Freedom-class.

The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS-1) USS Freedom is plagued by extensive corrosion and manufacturing issues more recent and serious than anything the Pentagon or prime contractor Lockheed Martin has publicly acknowledged thus far.

The Navy, and the builder tell us not to worry. Yes there are problems. Yes they are fixing them.

I'm not convinced. Cancelling the program would be a gift.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Waking up

This is not the F-35 program Congress signed up for.

Bloomberg reports that airframe quantity for the F-35 program low-rate-initial-production (LRIP) lots will be funded as development sees real progress and not just blind faith.

Six of the 31 aircraft in the next round won’t be awarded until Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest defense contractor, meets at least five criteria, including successful review this year of the latest software release, Vice Admiral David Venlet told the Senate Armed Services Committee’s airpower panel, according to a prepared statement.

The first four contracts for 63 aircraft have exceeded their combined cost by $1B.

And those 63 aircraft are in no way, go-to-war combat aircraft.

Either the F-35 proves itself in development, (hard to do at this point with all the flaws), or numbers get cut. Even more.

This is not the best plan. Cancelling the jet would be the best plan. Major design flaws show that for all the money invested, the F-35 will never be a leading-edge combat aircraft. It won't even be a very good replacement for legacy aircraft.

An elected representative from Boeing proposes harsh action: that half of the F-35 funds be stopped until DOD declares an initial operating capability (IOC) date for the services.


Hold the F-35 Program AccountableSupport the Akin Amendment 


The Only Major Defense Program Without An IOC 

Dear Colleague, The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, whose development has spanned three presidencies, is the Department of Defense’s most expensive acquisition program in history!  On its current course, the program will cost the United States more than $1.5 trillion!

 And we STILL do not know this aircraft’s Initial Operational Capability (IOC)? The IOC dates are the critical dates when the warfighter expects the capability promised by the acquisition program to be available.  Compared to the current approved baseline from 2007, the total cost of this program has increased by nearly $119 billion.  Full-rate production has been delayed 5 years, and IOCdates are now unsettled because of program uncertainties. 

The program has changed its IOC dates four times already, but if DOD wants Congress to fund the program, they should give us an IOC. F-35 program boss Vice Adm. David Venlet told lawmakers he still does not have an estimate for when the F-35 will reach its IOC. GAO’s recent testimony gives an explanation: The program is not performing reliably enough for them to try to guess. “Until greater clarity is provided on the program’s path forward, the military services are likely to wait to commit to new initial operational capability dates,” the GAO said. It is not acceptable for a program the American taxpayer has already invested billions of dollars in to fail to give Congress fixed and firm IOC dates.  

This is why I will be offering the following amendment during committee markup to the National Defense Authorization Act: The Akin amendment states that not more than 50 percent of procurement funds made available for a variant of such aircraft may be obligated or expended until the Secretary— 

(1) establishes the initial operational capability date for such variant; and 

(2) certifies to the congressional defense committees such date.This amendment will not harm the development of the program, but will only slow the actual buying of airframes if the DOD does not establish an IOC date. 

Recognizing the difficulties inherent in any cutting edge program of this nature, I have personally counseled patience with the Joint Strike Fighter program in the past.  But my patience has run out, and I believe Congress and the American people deserve to know when this aircraft will provide a return on our investment.                                                            

Sincerely,                                                           
          W. Todd Akin

It is understood that elected representatives from Lockheed Martin along with lobbyists, will attempt to stop such a plan.

Meanwhile, Vice Adm. David Venlet told the Senate Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee that if the program continues as it is now there should not be any significant unexpected cost or schedule increases.

On this point, Venlet is not believable. History shows that significant, unexpected cost and schedule increases are the most consistent F-35 program metrics.

H/T- Sky Talk