Friday, August 31, 2012

Senate report on Defence procurement learning disability can be read here

The Senate report mentioned previously in reference to the inability of the entrenched defence bureaucracy to get procurement right (or even learn from their mistakes) is at the bottom of this post in PDF format.

There are several things in it. Too much to cover here in one post.

I took a look at the Air Warfare Destroyer issues. The project claims to be within budget limits, just delayed. Don't know how you achieve that one.

The AWD idea was briefed to the government for (pdf) $6B years ago, then sold to the government for $8B and it could see $10B.

For 3 ships.

Here is an interesting quote from the report:

(click image to make larger)

These are the same kind of people that we will depend on to get the Collins submarine replacement right.

Gillard and Abbott not credible with Operation:USELESS DIRT

The reference to Vietnam is apt.

This government (and Defence) lack of understanding of non-state warfare is telling.

Yet, there is no valid reason; no valid mission that the ADF can perform in Operation:USELESS DIRT,  that contributes anything to the defence of the nation, or NATO countries.


A visibly emotional Ms Gillard pledged Australia cannot have its war aims dictated by ''even the most grievous of losses'' after the worst bloodshed for Australians in combat in decades.
"We are making progress. I can tell you that, I've seen it with my own eyes when I have visited Afghanistan,'' she said.

Not credible. Well, credible as a chicken-hawk or as a sign of gross ignorance. I forget. What Regiment did she serve in?

What progress? The security environment there is a house of cards that will fall once military forces leave. And after we leave, it still will not have an effect on our national security. Well, if we had a strong leader that could do more than spell "national security".


"They died in the service of our country, trying to make the world a better place and our country will draw strength from their service and memory."

If those are the only reasons to have the ADF in Operation:USELESS DIRT, they are damn bad ones. I would rather the enemy die in the service of their country. Oh, wait. They don't have one. And, what better place Mr. Abbott? We already have plenty of examples from history. Some of the ops our brave soldiers died for in the past were a lost cause, operationally stupid or both.

Just like today.

No thanks, Mrs. Gillard. No thanks Mr. Abbott.

Strong leadership requires getting out now rather than later. THAT would impress the voting public and show an example of common sense.

Senate report mentions the obvious-Defence procurement broken-destined to repeat mistakes

The Senate might be becoming more aware of procurement incompetence of the entrenched defence bureaucracy.

"In effect, Defence has a flawed management structure that stymies the work of dedicated, professional and in many cases highly skilled personnel," it said.

"Senior officers in Defence may well argue that the failures noted in this report are drawn from history: but if the organisation cannot or will not apply lessons from previous projects to current and future ones then it is destined to repeat them."

To some of us, this is hardly news. Maybe our elected officials can do something about it?

Well, they have had information like this for years and done little.


-Defence White Paper Fantasy
-Analysing "The ADF Air Combat Capability- On the Record"
-Find out who is responsible for the Air Warfare Destroyer mess
-Analysis of Defence Materiel Organisation Major Projects Management and What Needs to be Fixed
-New DMO Boss warns the staff that business as usual is over
-Project of Concern list
-How dangerous is the Defence Material Organisation to our Defence Industry?
-Australia's Failing Defence Structure and Management Methodology
-More on the dud-jamming gear Defence wants to buy

Thursday, August 30, 2012

RNZAF helicopters

These are the older ones. But they put on a nice display... looks good when viewed large.

Read the memo-F-35 Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP) in jeopardy

Below is the memo in reference to an earlier post about the head of the U.S. Department of Defense Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) issuing a warning about the status of the operational test plan for the F-35. The text version of memo is below. Original source link here.

AUG 21 2012

WASHINGTON, DC 20301-1700



SUBJECT: F-35 Test and Evaluation Master Plan

The purpose of this memorandum is to inform you of the concerns I have regarding the content of the latest version of Revision 4 of the F-35 Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP) being prepared for coordination to support the 7 September review of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program by the Defense Acquisition Board.

-The test resources and plans needed to address the issues explained in detail in my February 3, 2012 memorandum regarding JSF electronic warfare capabilities (and those of other ongoing and future aircraft programs) have been provided to the JSF program office; however, program office staff have indicated specification of these resources may be excluded from the draft of the TEMP transmitted for review and approval by the Services. I will not approve a TEMP that lacks specification of these critical test resources.

-The cost of executing the operational test and evaluation (OT&E) sequence contained in the draft TEMP has been reduced significantly relative to estimates provided at a Joint Operational Test Team Executive Committee meeting last month, apparently to meet the budget constraint provided by the JSF program office. Until the details of the changes are provided to me and reviewed independently by my office to assure they are reasonable, I will not approve the TEMP. The plans for and content of testing must be determined by the data that need to be obtained to support a comprehensive and rigorous operational evaluation---not by budget targets set by the program office.

-Overlap of developmental testing with the start of operational test activity including spin-up for the Block 2B and 3F operational evaluations remains a concern. As stated in the approval memo I signed for Revision 3 of the TEMP, whatever overlap occurs must not preclude the achievement of the entrance criteria for OT&E contained in the TEMP prior to the operational test readiness review. Further, to assure infeasible overlap of developmental and operational testing does not occur, the TEMP must contain clear entry criteria for the start of each of the spin-up periods. Although it may be possible to conduct some certification activities during the spin-up periods, I will not approve a TEMP that imposes unrealistic and unachievable schedule risk on the conduct of OT&E.

-The purpose and justification for the Block 2 operational evaluation needs to be provided in the TEMP as something more than risk reduction for the Block 3 lOT&E. As I indicated in my August 10, 2012 memo to the Secretaries of the Air Force and the Navy, the Block 2 evaluation must be conducted to evaluate the combat mission areas which the Services expect to employ Block 2B configured aircraft.


-Cuckoo in the nest--U.S. DOD DOT&E F-35 report is out

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mr. Clare's ignorance

“It leaves as a part and comes back as a plane — one of the most advanced fighter planes in the world,” Minister for Defence Material Jason Clare said.

Poor Mr. Clare is an ignorant fool. Not his own fault for the most part, but because of the poor and/or misleading advice he gets from the entrenched defence bureaucracy.


The continuing saga of the most egregious example of a defence program Ponzi-scheme in human history.

The SME's are now facing a lot less work because of F-35 program management incompetence and a very large rent-seeking inspired group of government cheerleaders.

This from 2002:

The stealth aircraft was affordable because there were already so many, more than 3000, on the order books, said Air Marshal Houston.

From 2007:

For the production phase, the JSF Industrial Participation (IP) Plans negotiated for Australian industry with Lockheed Martin and the two JSF engine manufacturers, identify production opportunities valued at more than AUD$9 billion.

--Speech, The Hon. Bruce Billson, MP, Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence--

Music to a rent-seeker's heart. Oh, and even though all partners were briefed on the advantage of plug-and-play two-engine choice for vendors, the U.S. shot that down because they had to cover red-ink in other areas of cost blow-outs.

Poor SMEs. "Now hiring" also means now firing.

China tests mobile-8400-mile 10RV capable ICBM

While others are blathering about a U.S. political convention, we have this:

China today announced that it has successfully test-fired a new 14,000 km range inter-continental ballistic missile which can carry multiple warheads, providing it with a "first strike capability" to attack targets deep inside the US and round the world.

The Dongfeng-41 with strike distance of 14,000 km was test-fired by People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Second Artillery Corp last month, state-run CCTV reported, showing a rare lengthy footage of is mobile missile units.

"The new missile's mobility, precession and war head yield combined give China a first strike capability," the report said.

As many as 10 nuclear warheads can be put on the missile. China claims that it will not be the first one to use nuclear weapons and says its nuclear forces are designed for counter attack against nuclear attack on its territory.

F-35 Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP) in jeopardy

The head of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) office recently informed the DOD F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program decision-makers  that a comprehensive testing plan known as the Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP) will not be approved over questions of the troubled fighter program's progress, reports AOL Defense.

The DOD OT&E boss, Michael Gilmore wrote a memo dated 21 August to various DOD officials stating that the F-35 program leadership must specify how they will test the aircraft's electronic warfare capabilities, match up the flight testing program to funding as part of a credible plan and address concerns  about "overlap of developmental testing with the start of operational test activity".

Until he is satisfied on those matters, the TEMP will not be approved. AOL Defense also reports that Gilmore wrote that he won't approve the TEMP if it "imposes unrealistic and unachievable schedule risk" on operational testing.

While AOL Defense reports that Gilmore "does not have the authority to make programmatic decisions", this is no small matter.

Besides OT&E doing their job of warning about faulty DOD weapons test plans, the office is also performing continuous CYA in case the F-35 goes even more off the rails than it already has.

This also makes one wonder what the United States Marketing Corps boss, General Amos, is thinking if the jet is no where near being capable of operational test which is needed to have a usable go-to-war configured jet.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

RAAF fighter buy stuns US

10 years later. What do we have?

From October 2002.

More discover F-35 Ponzi Scheme

More industry players are waking up and discovering the F-35 Ponzi scheme.

“All we know is that there will be 50 airplane builds this year, and there were supposed to be 118 airplanes built this year,” Smith said. “The ramp-up just hasn’t been there. In terms of future employees, it's probably about 20 people that we won’t need but that we’ve been planning on. Until the business is up, nothing is for sure.”

There will be thousands built. It will be affordable. It is on PowerPoint, it must be true.

Business suffers. Employment suffers. Real people suffer.

Death by over-optimism, faith and listening to charlatans.

(2003 briefing)

I'm shocked that industry would be at risk since we had such top analysis down-under:

The decision to invest was bold and would carry the RAAF into the future, enabling it to dominate Australia's air and sea approaches, he said. The stealth aircraft was affordable because there were already so many, more than 3000, on the order books, said Air Marshal Houston.


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

-F-35 Production Cut Update

Canada's new top general starts off with mislead

"The F-35 is a program that is hitting milestones and doing quite well."

Canada's new top General.

I guess he has a different definition of "doing quite well" compared to normal people.

Faulty "think-tank", faulty results

(bottom of Williams Foundation website)

The Williams Foundation is at it again; using retired military status as a facade to push faulty defence industry talking points wrapped up as analysis.

The Williams Foundation has a bad history of spewing non-credible defence industry talking points

Today's article, "Growler money well spent: Defence, Williams Foundation" should be seen for what it is; a continuing behaviour to promote the greater defence conspiracy (correct use of the word) which enhances industry but has little to do with defending the nation.

No matter what the Williams camp and others state, the purchase of dud jamming gear is unfortunate.

Sir Richard Williams must be rolling in his grave knowing that an organisation is using his name to create a revenue stream--"don't forget to renew your sponsorship"--for questionable motives.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The goal; get elected

Good grief. Fear sells. The need to get re-elected.

McCain cited a 2011 study by George Mason University economist Stephen Fuller estimating that Arizona would lose more than 33,000 jobs and $2 billion in earnings if the mandated cuts take place in 2013. The study, funded by a defense industry trade group, pegged the total loss to Arizona’s gross state product at $2.9 billion.

McCain said he’s in favor in savings in defense and domestic spending, “But you don’t want to do it with a meat ax.”

He said he doesn’t anticipate any cuts to the F-35 program but added that any delays or cost increases could lead to the government buying fewer F-35s.

None of the rent-seekers are willing to do just a tiny bit of research and ask Mr. McCain to expand more on this letter.

No matter, Sir.

Interesting how someone can show such strong courage as a POW; take sustained and severe beatings; say 'no' to the enemy; get beat some more; rinse and repeat and come out the other side knowing he did his best.

Yet courage to tell the rent-seekers there is no Santa seems lacking.

The mind boggles.

Live--politics in 140 charachters or less...

Alveoli vs the F-22

This Fort Worth Star Telegram article on F-22 life-support issues doesn't match USAF over-optimism on marking all this as problem-solved.

Normal air contains about 21 percent oxygen. The moment F-22 pilots strap on their air masks, they're breathing 60 percent oxygen. Within the seconds it takes the plane to reach 11,000 feet after takeoff, the pilot is breathing air that's 93 percent oxygen.

But that's far more than the body needs except at the highest altitudes and in high-G-force maneuvers, some experts say.

As the aircraft accelerates and the rich oxygen is forced into the lungs and can't be absorbed, it creates a condition called "acceleration atelectasis," in which alveoli, which transmit oxygen to the blood and remove carbon dioxide, collapse.

That causes breathing to become more labored as pilots maneuver at high speeds, with high G-forces hampering the blood supply. Their blood can't get rid of the carbon dioxide and can't get oxygen to the body's organs.

That could explain the disorientation and dizziness reported by pilots. It's almost like being intoxicated.

"If you get enough of that, you could certainly pass out," said Paul McDonough, an associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Texas at Arlington.

In addition to alveoli collapse, the body needs CO2 to gauge breathing regulation. Obviously, the USAF still has work to do.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Amos happy to make it up as he goes along

Amos, the CEO of the United States Marketing Corps F-35 cheerleaders, says no to the ECM support mission for the F-35B.

This was hyped forever by various F-35 faith-based communities. Even if the aircraft's faulty design has paper-thin to no usable weight margins.


Amos fibs:

Amos said the AN/APG-81 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar installed on the F-35 already sets the fifth generation fighter apart as an electronic warfare platform.

“The airplane itself … with the AESA radar and sensors and information sharing capability is a pretty significant EW platform right now,” said Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos at a roundtable meeting with reporters in the Pentagon Aug. 23.

Good luck with that. Besides the fact that his F-35 as a "fifth-generation" meme still will not die, a forward arc-only, limited to in-band (X-band), limited power vs. thermal issues and limited over-all sustained power output AESA radar, Amos is out of his depth on this one.

For example, the Block II Super Hornets delivered to Australia show this as one thing hyped on the sales room floor that was only hope: that an on-board AESA fighter-radar could do realistic jamming (let alone the fantasy of being labeled credible electronic defense gear). AND, at least the Super Block II has a balanced and fused defensive suite; defensive jammer, towed decoy, etc. The F-35? When naked, it has some expendable decoys and (if the software works) enough situational awareness to see what will kill it.

Amos adds another fib at the end of this description of obsolete capability:

The Growler carries up to five ALQ-99 jamming pods as well as AIM-120 AMRAAM or AGM-88 HARM missiles to attack air defenses.

Of course, these ALQ-99s are three decades old and the Navy continues to build its Next Generation Jammer that will fool enemy radars with false returns. Amos said he didn’t see any reason the F-35 couldn’t carry these pods too.

Again, current Growler gear is obsolete against emerging threats, so it is interesting that one would bother putting on such gear to, again, the F-35 which has paper-thin to no usable weight margins in the design.

Also, the dumb idea of the F-35 being an EWO platform; limited aircrew. When they went from the EA-6 to Super-G, they went from 4 to 2 aircrew. This was mentioned as a problem in various reports. This causes workload problems. Maybe Amos can explain how one crew-person can manage all that workload, assuming the lash-up even works.

As time marches on, Amos, with his weak air power theory and his deceptive statements to elected officials, does more harm to the reputation of Marine Air than good.

He finishes though with the cost issue in a rare display of common sense. Like a lot of fantasy "notional" Block 4,5 and 6 efforts for the F-35, what is needed now is to stick to the knitting of making a warfighter-capable F-35 Block 3 exist.

This is far from guaranteed.

Unwarranted risk?

Will there be an F-35 mishap in the future? Very possible. This happens in testing. But how much risk should new trainee pilots wear? They are not test pilots.

What matters is if the mishap has a high degree of being preventable. Below, I have converted a portion of an Inside Defense story about a Osprey mishap.

Let us see if it has legs with the current F-35 program management attitude. With a limited flight envelop almost 6 years after first-flight, what defines unwarranted risk?


F-35 Crash Report Cites Pilot Error, Wind And Flight Manual

(CNN) A fatal F-35 Joint Strike Fighter crash in Florida this past fall was due largely to mistakes made by the pilot, but wind was also a key factor, according to a Marine Corps investigation report. The report also recommends the aircraft's flight manual had inadequate guidance for the circumstances involved.

Friday, August 24, 2012

60 more Super Hornets for Australia?

Mr. Thomson of ASPI isn't stupid. He is just a bit misinformed on various things that have to do with tribal knowledge of military issues.

With that, he does have his sources. Even if he comes up with some really odd conclusions. There are things that he has to be informed on; or that someone "in the know" told him.

Take for example his opinion piece the other day, and this:

"Second, some of the remaining big-ticket items from the 2009 White Paper need to be discarded in favour of more modest alternatives. Think along the lines of an air force built around 60 F/A 18 Super Hornets rather than 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters..."

One does not need a tin-foil-hat to consider that it is possible that the number of 60 was not pulled out of thin air or part of Thomson's imagination.

I believe it is possible that you are looking at a fall-back plan by Defence when faced with limited future budgets, an unworkable F-35 program and the really bad idea of pushing old classic Hornets through the refurb mill (again) to make them last out to the 2020's. Whatever happens, Australia's most expensive flying club, must go on.

Status-quo is something hard to deal with. How would 60 fall into the current legacy Hornet RAAF squadron structure when 71-72 are needed?

It is still workable with some adjustment.

The F-35 may show up someday. However, it is unaffordable and ineffective for any non-anti-access scenario done better by the Super Hornet. Both are unsurvivable for emerging Pacific threats.

Ponder the finer details of squadron conversion amongst yourselves.

McCain's latest battle

McCain, as one of the top chairs of the Senate Armed Services Committee has to protect the taxpayer against wasteful DOD spending.

Or does he?

The Marines want to start training early at Eglin AFB, Florida, even if the capability, flight-envelop, and general management of the program is in serious question.

Amos, the cheerleader for the F-35 program, who went into a micro-manage mode last year with the need for daily updates on program metrics, conned a clueless Panetta (note the authors of the damning letter) into lifting a two-year get-fixed or death notice by a no-knowledge-on-airpower issues Gates in relation to the USMC F-35B. Amos is now dialing back; claiming going forwardness will put forth...something.

McCain goes to speak at Yuma; his home turf as an Arizona Senator.

Are the rent-seekers at Yuma ready to go? Well, there are no F-35s yet. Along with no credible pilot training program and robust operational test verification. It will be interesting to see how Yuma's F-35 reason to exist (training warfighters with the F-35) works out with an emperor-has-no-cloths scenario. They have high-hopes though. That is their future. Such as it is. The mission? Not the defense of the country. The mission is happy local businesses.

The rent-seekers at Yuma and the USMC have faith on their side.

At Yuma, McCain babbles generalities about the F-35 program and specifics about looming mandatory budget cuts. He goes on to fear-monger about Yuma not needing high unemployment as a result of budget cuts.

Not mentioned: the DOD would lose -$50B over ten years with the sequestration act. This would bring us back to a 2006-era defense budget. There are several wasteful defense programs which contribute nothing to killing stuff and breaking things in a war-like manner. That and we have too many flag-ranks and SES.

It is an election year.

Related? Well, it isn't synchronicity.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

*UPDATE* - Defence rips off the taxpayer for another $1.5B

One thing you can count on with today's entrenched defence bureaucracy is that they will continue to do dumb things; in a very expensive and wasteful manner.

Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that the Government had decided to acquire the Growler electronic warfare system for the Super Hornet, at a cost of around $1.5 billion.

Unfortunately, the facts of a tepid Growler "capability" don't allow for much of a future.


Industry sources hawking obsolete product say Growler is obsolete. Competition for available cash and all that. LOL. The bad decision by Defence to waste $1.5B on the Growler takes money away from the ultimate bad decision; the Joint Strike Failure.

USMC not to be slowed down by "bureaucratic obstacles"

The USMC is going to start real pilot training with the F-35B at Eglin soon. Allegedly.

Marine Corps leaders, increasingly concerned about replacing their current fleet of aging fighters, decided to skip the formal evaluation of the plane's operational utility that the Air Force is completing before proceeding with its own pilot training flights at the base.

"The Marines are determined to get this plane into the field as soon as it can be safely accomplished. They don't want to be slowed down by bureaucratic obstacles," said Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute think tank.

I wonder which "bureaucratic obstacles" Thompson means? This set of "bureaucratic obstacles", or this set of "bureaucratic obstacles"?

Gilmore, the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation, declined to comment on Wednesday on the Marine Corps' decision to skip the operational utility evaluation, according to his spokeswoman.

After all, according to Thompson and one of his pay-masters, Lockheed Martin, most of the F-35 troubles are the government's fault. So good to go ahead and get this done sooner. If a few $200M-plus mistake-jets are dumped in the process, well, the USMC survived the Osprey debacle. At least an F-35 mishap doesn't kill people by the bushel.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

UPDATE-Chinese made Backfire long range bomber to see West Pacific service

What will a Mach-capable Backfire long-range bomber that can be air-to-air refueled mean to the future of the West Pacific anti-access discussion? As it seems now, quite a lot.

Back in 2001, there were indications that China wanted to buy 32 Backfire bombers from Russia. A deal at the time which could have been up to $1 biillion dollars. There was mention of this hope as early as 1998.

It seems now that sometime in 2010, China just decided to instead, buy the Russian production line for the jet.

A move by Russia to sell its production line of Tu-22M3 long-range bombers to China for US$1.5 billion to China was confirmed by the US-based US-China Economic and Security Review Commission two years ago and the bomber's name will be changed to the Hong-10, reports the state-run China News Service.

The Chinese name for their version of the Backfire (version is important because it is bound to have PLAAF specific items in it) is expected to fly in the second half of next year.

UPDATE: Google translate Chinese to English, this source says the H-10 "is expected to go into production next year". Different from the above first-flight mention.


The continent purchase Backfire bomber production line put into operation next year will be called the H -10

At 12:36 on June 15th, 2012

Aging bomber fleet replacement of old, the Chinese mainland to Russia for $ 1.5 billion purchase of Tu-22M3 Backfire (Backfire) long-range bomber production line, named "H -10", is expected to go into production next year, combat The deployment of 36.

According to Japan's "Sankei Shimbun" reported that, after the end of the Cold War, the continent had financial difficulties in Russia express willingness to buy the Tu-22M bombers, but would undermine the military balance in East Asia, Russia grounds to refuse.

After years of fight, Russia agreed to sell $ 1.5 billion Backfire bomber production line is expected to go into production next year, the actual deployment of 36, the People's Liberation Army into the military after named "H -10". As early as two years ago, the hearings held by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission is responsible for assessing the safety of US exchanges (The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission), has confirmed the deal.

Tu-22M3 bombers maximum combat radius of 2880 kilometers, took off from mainland China in the South China Sea, East China Sea, and even the activities of the Western Pacific, is expected to be a serious threat to the safety of the air defense of the Western Pacific countries.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What experts?

"...So what are the risks? Three of Australia’s top defence experts – Hugh White, Jim Molan, and Mark Thomson..."


What the chart in the article does not show is a dramatic chronological trend rising upward at galactic levels (in red) showing the massive amounts of group-think and Dunning-Kruger Effect now dominating the decision-making in the entrenched defence bureaucracy.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The ADF that is not

Some reads here and here from "The Strategist" (ASPI blog) in reference to an opinion piece by Mark Thompson.

Thompson may argue that:
"Even taking current shortcomings into account, Australia’s defence force is better equipped and prepared for action than at any time since the end of the Vietnam conflict."

But what is missing, the major issue, is proper adult supervision at the top of the ADF and Defence bureaucracy. Since a purge of Defence critical thinkers in the 1999-2002-era give or take a few years, we now are in no shortage of groupthink and management speak and style over substance. We may be able to do with a smaller ADF but it is less about the size and money spent and more about waste and gross mismanagement.

1.The Collins sub program is a disaster for billions spent and $700M +/- per year on sustainment.

2. The patrol boat sustainment is also very bad. There are around 5 of the 14 Armidale-class boats available and along with that, a variety of crewing and maintenance issues.

3. Our "new" amphib bought from the U.K. who are having a going out of business sale with military gear, is now in repair for 6 months since June due to a mechanical failure. It was marked good-to-go by our genius people that are supposed to look after these things before purchase. It was a response to the DMO-RAN cabal being unable to sustain previous amphib ships.

4. Our helicopter fleet is an expensive quesiton mark when lower-cost solutions will do. I suppose that as we get gouged more and more for gold-plated helicopter "solutions" the voices of the faithful will increase with their praise of the situation.

5. The air power roadmap is a mess. No one thought we would have to sustain old, classic F-18 Hornets out to the 2020s. But that is what is happening. Defence also wanted to waste money on dud jamming gear for the Super Hornet purchase. The Super Hornets were in response to late F-35s. Note: Defence made up all kinds of other reasons after the fact. The F-35 itself has been in serious trouble for years. After the nation spends somewhere north of $20-plus billion on patch-work, the faulty and tens-of-billions F-35 still will not have been here. I am curious what is a-ok with Defence when the Super Hornet costs around $23k per flying hour and the F-35 somewhere around $35k+ per flying hour? And, neither will be able to stand up to emerging threats.

6. Even though it has some problems, thank goodness for the Army. Which along with portions of the RAAF do provide some value.

7. A moribund Navy, an Army that will see more reformation and a RAAF that has some stuff that works and a bunch of other stuff that does not.

Of interest Thompson says:

"First, the sprawling Defence empire must be reformed root and branch."

Well, as I have mentioned, that is show-stopper; a deal-breaker. Any proposals before fixing that are cart-before-the-horse.


"Recent experience with the so-called Strategic Reform Program shows that this task cannot be left to the generals and mandarins. Outside intervention and independent oversight will be needed to reshape the enterprise so that it can be trusted with taxpayers’ money."

I will continue to observe for more great ideas out of the supposed people with bigger brains on these things than I.


-Defence White Paper Fantasy
-Analysing "The ADF Air Combat Capability- On the Record"
-Find out who is responsible for the Air Warfare Destroyer mess
-Analysis of Defence Materiel Organisation Major Projects Management and What Needs to be Fixed
-New DMO Boss warns the staff that business as usual is over
-Project of Concern list
-How dangerous is the Defence Material Organisation to our Defence Industry?
-Australia's Failing Defence Structure and Management Methodology
-More on the dud-jamming gear Defence wants to buy

Canada F-35 update

The implied threat to Canada if it decides not to continue with the faulty F-35 program.

"But Lockheed Martin has warned it won’t continue dealing with those firms if Canada decides not to go ahead with the F-35 purchase."

Waste a few hundred million on an earlier poor decision, or press forward and boost that failure by a real, several orders of magnitude?

H/T- Twitter: @a_picazo

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ending the RAN on-demand happy-cabbie service

In The Australian weekend edition, Greg Sheridan points out an important fact about the illegal boat people problem.

That is, that the U.N. treaty related to this mess only states that illegals shouldn't be sent back to their original country of origin if they are claiming reasons of political asylum.

To go along with that, when a ship makes a distress call, that doesn't mean those under alleged distress, have to go to places like Christmas Island for example, to seek process for Australian citizenship.

The illegals are queue-jumping for citizenship. They are cutting in front of other justified asylum seekers around the world. The motivation of an illegal boat person is to get onto the welfare system.

Those that say the boats can't be turned back are dangerous people. The main goal of any military is to protect our borders.

Australia is now hundreds of billions in budget distress. We can't pay for people trying to fraud their way to citizenship.

Any priority list for military procurement of hardware, staffing and sustainment--in a defence white paper or elsewhere--should put border protection as a high priority over any other kind of military mission.

Right now, the military does not need high-end defence gear until this most important problem of repelling illegal boat people is solved.

The days of the RAN on-demand happy-cabbie service must end.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

LM performs flight with first Dutch F-35 mistake-jet--Response: ...crickets chirping...

On August 6th, a Dutch F-35, airframe AN-1, performed its first flight. On the 7th, it made its' second flight. On the 10th, it made its' 3rd flight. What was the response in the F-35 PR-spin-machine-world to this wonderful event showing alleged progress? Absolutely nothing reports JSF News (Google Translate Dutch-to-English).

One of the reasons for the PR silence could be that the Dutch election--where the troubled and expensive F-35 is an inflammatory issue--is only 4 weeks away.

It is unclear why this historical moment for the Royal Air Force is not noised data. The manufacturer Lockheed Martin normally consults with a client, press releases, believed to be from The Hague that the preference was given to wait a press release, taking into account the reaction of Lockheed Martin told the press: "We will need to refer you the Netherlands Ministry of Defence office for specifics surrounding the first flight of the Dutch F-35. "

Next LM boss tries some spin on AV Week

The Next LM boss has a few examples of spin with the F-35 program when talking to AV Week.

Here is an interesting one:

Lockheed Martin is on the hook to deliver the JSF low-rate initial production III and IV aircraft by the end of the year. Will you meet that deadline?

It's close. We experienced a 10-week strike in Fort Worth that just ended a month ago, and that could drive some challenges as to whether some aircraft get delivered late this year or early in 2013. We're in dialogue with our customer, and they know the challenges.

For the record, LRIP-3 is already late. The contract was to end in December 2011. Just a few months ago was the start of LRIP-3 deliveries to the customer. LRIP-4 contracts are to be completed by March of 2013. Given the number of aircraft to hand over, not all that far off.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

USAF knew for over a decade...

ABC News rightly alerts us to the fact that the USAF knew about the oxygen flaw in the F-22 for over a decade that ended up killing the Alaska mishap pilot. USAF justification at the time was to save a buck.

Then USAF blames the pilot for the mishap.

Lack of honor times ten.

The document, written by a member of the Combined Test Force at California's Edwards Air Force Base in March 2000 and updated in 2002, described a problem with the design of the plane's Environmental Control System (ECS), which is charged with regulating several systems in the plane including the conditions in the cockpit. During certain specific high-altitude maneuvers, the ECS system would shut down and it was built so that if it failed, it would spark a cascade effect that would also cut off the pilot's primary oxygen supply.

Under the heading "Impact If Not Fixed," the test group member wrote, "Real-world failure of [the oxygen system] due to ECS shutdown is unacceptable. ECS failure and the subsequent loss of supplemental breathing oxygen may result in pilot debilitation or fatality due to either altitude hypoxia [oxygen deprivation] or decompression sickness in the event of cabin depressurization."

"Investigate and take corrective action," the 2000 document says. "Suggest repairing the ECS system so it will provide continuous, adequate service throughout the flight envelope. Suggest providing a reliable source of bleed air for [the oxygen system] in the event of ECS failure... [C]onsider addition of pilot breathing air plenum to fill gaps when [the oxygen system] is not operating, as during ECS shutdown."

Yet, ABC commits yellow journalism against the F-22 capability stating that it hasn't been used in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Gee, I guess we need to get rid of nuclear ballistic missile submarines.

Senator McCain also jumps in.

Dumb attitudes like that mean that America will lose air power deterrence in the Pacific and elsewhere.

Understanding F-35 flight test "progress"

Thanks to a reader for taking the time to post this comment from First drop of a test weapon shape from F-35.

It deserved its own thread:

Anonymous said...

Pro-JSF forces will claim progress, but fail to understand what is before their eyes. Anti-JSF forces will look at elapsed time since program win and bring the guns to bear on the slow pace of achievement.

BF-3 is a dedicated "flight sciences" jet just like BF-1/2/4, with no capability for "mission systems" testing - which only resides in BF-5, and they have yet to get that jet's systems working correctly since delivery from Ft Worth.

This test was conducted to merely check the actual vs predicted separation clearance of the GBU-32 from the bay at a conservative speed/altitude. This is a normal flight test stepping stone which will require a decent amount of postflight analysis (1 week nominally, but pressure is surely "on" to do better) prior to proceeding to the next test point.

As with every integration of JDAM on any platform, the first tests involve the "flight sciences" aspects and often occur in parallel: flutter, loads, environmental, and separation testing. These do not require any smart integration with the weapon. Much has gone on in the background to get to this point. Yet what has not gone on with the BF's has been any integration of the GBU-32 into the avionics system, other than declaring a quantity and weapon weight.

The drop seen here was not in any way an "integrated test". The weapon bay has multiple cameras, as does the aft end of the fake EOTS housing under the radome...and the AIM-9X shape possesses two cameras. All of these fixed apertures are cued during release, with the digital images stored in the test instrumentation system of the jet. These are used postflight to determine miss distances, by using the accurately placed black/white targets on the jet and weapon as references. These are digitally combined in a computer program and an accurate X/Y/Z accounting of the weapon is generated (in relation to the jet), thus the miss distance can be calculated. If it falls within a given percentage of the preflight prediction, engineers will give the test a pass and the release envelope is opened a little further.

The weapon seen here was not guided, nor did it communicate with the jet in any way. It was merely a "shape" that was measured/ballasted/weighed/targeted so that it mimicked a real GBU-32. The weapon bay doors were driven open via pilot command minutes before release, not via some automated all-up round command (commit to weapon release) that will be required of a mission systems jet (and operational jets, obviously). The weapon was literally released via a manual command from the pilot, with the pickle button actually hot-wired to the release mechanism in the bay. Very simple, and all that is required for a separation test.

Do not get the idea that a JDAM was powered up, GPS keys and almanac downloaded, passed a mass data transfer, aligned, and given target coordinates. Sadly, the program is not to that state even yet. Weapons have been removed from IOC for the variants so they can just get the GBU-32 or -31, GBU-12 PWII, and AIM-120. Even those will be very limited as the program will not be able to clear them to complete envelopes. Very sad as lots of competent people at LM and DoD have proven themselves on previous programs, yet get absolutely overrun when trying to change the immense inertia of a program run by very few with ANY aerospace background. This is not isolated to LM...Boeing and NG have their share of PowerPoint managers in positions of program power. DoD test leaders are lacking in experience but not in speedbump-like opinions. And test pilot careers are more important at this point than louldly waving the warning flag at impending OT failures. Progress to flight hours and test points (regardless of success) runs the show.

Of course the LM business development machine and the Navy's Army's Air Force (USMC) will spin this simple separation flight into a "we have dropped JDAM from the F-35 and support the warfighter" story that lawmakers and laymen will soak up.

The only crisis is no port visits

Is this really a problem?

If so...

...we have a solution.

Looking the other way

F-35 program failure explained.

Read the comments after the outburst.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Contractors settle wrongful death act lawsuit with widow of F-22 mishap pilot

Settling over the lawsuit.

Would have been interesting to see it go to trial; the widow wins, and the jury decides punitive compensation.

Condolences to the family.

BTW, nice job of honor and all that for the USAF to blame the pilot.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Deal close for Australia to sell 6 C-130H aircraft to Indonesia

Via Australian Aviation:

In addition to the 4 gifted former RAAF C-130H's to Indonesia, Australia is close to a deal to sell 6 for $15M each.

Hope for JASSM

The JASSM-ER will be one of the few solutions for USAF anti-access strike needs for years to come.

I hope it works.

This press release describes the new 500-mile range variant which compares it to the 200-mile range original variant.

JASSM is sub-sonic and since there aren't any videos of it doing nap-of-the-earth flight profiles, it is possible that it depends only on stealth to survive.

That could be challenging. First day of duck season.

Also mentioned by the USAF is its over-optimism with GPS assistance to the inertial navigation (INS) in the missile. GPS is great for the JDAM which has a short flight time (around 1 minute). If the jet dropping JDAM already has a tight INS fix (better if enhanced by a radar update), the JDAM's INS is going to hit--GPS or no.

The longer range you shoot the more updates you need. GPS degradation is mentioned by the USAF but if it is a long range shot and GPS is denied, good luck hitting much. This comment doesn't hold water:

"Even without GPS, the JASSM can find its target due to its internal sensor."

Also, if they are depending on net-enabled updates, that can be geo-located and/or denied.

What would help? Celestial navigation. The B-2 has a very accurate celestial navigation unit in its left wing. Some old Cold War ideas had an analog ones...but accuracy only needed to be good enough for nukes.

How did pre-GPS cruise missiles like ALCM off of the B-52 do it? With a terrain contour-matching guidance system (SAC SIOP=highly scripted missions) and again nukes needing less accuracy. Survivablity was based on flying nap-of-the-earth around known threats.

Bomb damage assessment (BDA) of Desert Storm targets hit with ALCM's converted from nuke to conventional warheads, with this technology of the day was mixed; and, over-hyped. Or as General Powell put it: something about bouncing rubble with million-dollar missiles; for those those that made it near the proper target.

Post-Desert Storm, ALCMs were upgraded with GPS assist.

How the JASSM acts in real combat against high-end threats will be interesting. I hope we never have to find out. Scripted range events and all that. It beats the over-sell by the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter crowd claiming high-end IADS survival which doesn't exist.

The F-35 problem is that it is too weak to take on high end-IADS and too expensive to operate for any other kind of lesser threat. Unusable for the Pacific. Current legacy aircraft that can carry JASSM have a better shot at taking care of high and low threats.

JASSM was supposed to be an "affordable" cruise missile in the $400,000 each region. What the U.S. pays for each weapon these days isn't anywhere close to that.

So, cruise missiles are it. We are out of money and any real air power advocates are retired, dead, or doing anything else.

And, I wonder, why the USAF thinks 1763 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, still makes any sense.

Samurai faith

SLD is always worth a chuckle when they try to sell the troubled F-35. Here, they use Japan's latest defense white paper as an example of sound F-35 faith.

In other words, the new fighter aircraft needs to be able to effectively deal with high-performance fighters, as well as being equipped with sufficient performance to deal with cruise missiles and the ability to carry out its operations effectively in network-centric-warfare that has those functions as constituent elements.

Well, good luck. Interesting since communist appeasement types in the Bush administration refused to sell the F-22 to Japan.

I wonder if these 2010 Lockheed Martin claims (similar to claims held for years) will hold true?

(click image to make larger)

Quantum leap like the TV show (marketing)? Or quantum leap like physics (and what the engineers say is real)?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Trautman fantasy

This week we learned that the first drop of a weapon shape was performed with the F-35. As time goes on, these first-time events give the appearance that their purpose is to benefit Lockheed Martin, so as not to incur U.S. Government schedule penalties, than they are to help America win wars.

As someone rightly pointed out, according to the United States Marketing Corps and others, 2012 was to be initial operating capability (IOC) for the USMC.

The USMC told us so.

Again. And again.

Let us look back oh-so-long-ago (2010) for how this was being projected by the con-artists in the USMC and DOD.

USMC: Still Holding the Beachhead on JSF IOC (March 2010)

"Our IOC is still 2012 and [full operational capability] 2024. Nothing has changed," says Maj. Carl Redding, Marine Corps spokesman.

Eager Marines to Deploy Early Version of JSF While Navy and Air Force Wait (April 2010)

Lieberman asked Marine Corps aviation chief, Lt. Gen. George Trautman, if he wasn’t taking a risk by fielding a squadron of Block 2B aircraft instead of waiting for the Block 3 version, like the Navy and Air Force. The F-35B is so much more capable than the AV-8 Harrier squadron it will be replacing that “its an easy decision to make” Trautman said. It will give Marine air component commanders their first ever stealthy STOVL aircraft operating off Marine amphibs.

JSF F-35B performs first vertical landing (March 2010)

The Marine Corps anticipates reaching JSF F-35B initial operational capability (IOC) in December 2012. IOC assets will include the first F-35B training squadron of 15 aircraft in VMFAT-501 at Eglin AFB, an operational test and evaluation detachment of 4 aircraft at Edwards AFB, and VMFA-332, the Corps' first operational squadron of 10 aircraft at MCAS Yuma. TheVMFA-332 aircraft will be equipped, manned and trained to execute Marine missions and deploy ashore or afloat.

SASC Hearing Sets Record Straight on JSF (March 2010)

We now know, thanks to Michael Gilmore, DoD’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, that there is a new system vulnerability issue that he describes thus:

“The program office is executing a comprehensive, robust, and fully funded Live Fire test plan. However, the program’s recent removal of shutoff fuses for engine fueldraulics lines, coupled with the prior removal of dry bay fire extinguishers, has increased the likelihood of aircraft combat losses from ballistic threat induced fires.

“F-35 live fire testing to date has shown that threat impact into fuel tanks results in sustained fires. In addition, the F-35 will be more vulnerable to typical non-combat fires caused by fuel leaks and other system failures without the fire-suppression systems. At present, only the Integrated Power Plant (IPP) bay has a fire suppression system.

“Though the configuration control process has approved the program office’s request to remove these safety systems as an acceptable system trade to balance weight, cost, and risk, I remain concerned regarding the aircraft’s vulnerability to threat-induced and safety-related fires.” (This quote is excerpted from Gilmore’s prepared statement, which he did not read out during the hearing—Ed.)

2010 also marked the year when the F-35 had another Nunn-McCurdy budget increase alert. The last link above mentions more of the scale of problems at the time than does anything that came out of the offices of the faith-based F-35 program cheerleaders.

Friday, August 10, 2012

First drop of a test weapon shape from F-35

F-35 (BF-3). a short-take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) B-model test aircraft flying out of Patuxent River Naval Air Station, has been used to drop the first inert weapon's test shape--similar to a 1000-pound JDAM. Similar, because you don't drop $18,000 JDAM kits into the drink for a first clearance test.

United States Marketing Corps press release here. Of course, for the faithful, this is a big achievement after almost 11 years of development (not counting the JSF effort before the 2001 contract).

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Free peoples do not need Keating's hope for the future

I like Hugh White even if I don't agree with him all the time. I haven't read his new book so I won't comment about it.

I will comment on Keating and his dangerous thinking.

The U.S. has done a lot of dumb things. However the alternative to their protection in the Pacific Rim doesn't look good for things like free speech and human rights.

Keating is right to question Australian involvement in stupid U.S. wars. Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq are good examples. Australia can say "no" and still be a credible ally and friend. Australia should tell the U.S. where it stands instead of being a door mat.

Along with that comes the idea that friends like Australia and the U.S. should help each other out. Australia should--at every opportunity--tell its friend when it is wrong instead of following off on a useless war.

At the same time though, when a crisis appears like the recent communist Chinese bullying in the South China Sea, Australia should stand tall and say they will have none of it. This by itself is doing the right thing and giving a kick in the shin to a currently spineless U.S. to bring some carrier diplomacy down to warmer waters. Naturally from that, Singapore, Japan, South Korea and other regional nations will feel reassured and respond with more resolve.

I do wonder if Keating really has an appreciation of the buzz-word's "Asian Century" being thrown about recently.

The last century for Asia was pretty good, minus the wars of course. But let us focus on the outcome of some of those wars. Keating mentions "American failure" in Korea. Sorry if I don't see it.

Today South Korea is a realitively free country with a strong economy. I wonder if Keating prefers North Korea? That would have been the result if the U.S. had not stepped in.

It is interesting that Keating avoids World War II. Without U.S. concern over the Pacific, Japan would have occupied Australia.

Japan would not be what it is today without the U.S. and General MacArthur's enlightened administration; which also gave women the right to vote.

Keating is right about the U.S. not needing to get involved in a war "on mainland Asia". The U.S. agrees. That is why the U.S. Army has almost no place in the U.S. DOD's Pacific plan. Air power and naval power is where it is at when it comes to hard power and thus the important thing: deterrance.

Keating doesn't seem to have an appreciation of the dangers of a totalitarian power. Hitler, Stalin and Mao murdered millions of people. Yet, Keating is willing to give communists a free pass.

Keating's idea for Australia's place in a future Pacific is dangerous. His kind would rather give in to communist bullying than step in to help a friend in need like the Philippines.

Keating and his kind appear to be the type of people you can't depend on when the going gets rough. That is the ultimate definition of being un-Australian.

What Keating does not understand is the following. While Japan, South Korea and the U.S. may argue about things from time to time, the U.S. strong military support, for a free and unmolested Japan and South Korea is unmovable.

Bullying Japan and South Korea is the equal of doing the same to the U.S.

Communist appeasement aside--for example, those in the Bush administration that balked at selling Japan the F-22--most of America will not tolerate Japan and South Korea in peril.

By the way, a strong, free military coalition of deterrence in the Pacific will not hurt trade. The communists may get mad, but they are not stupid. They, more than Keating, respect strength.

Mr. Keating would be wise to remember that when considering some alternate-reality "Asian Century"; under the thumb of totalitarianism.

UK to have degraded air-defense capability with the F-35

Since the start of the UK signing on to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program years ago, it was briefed that one of the weapons to be cleared for internal carry by the end of systems development and demonstration (SDD) phase with UK jets was the ASRAAM AIM-132 air-to-air missile.

Now, according to a briefing by program officials earlier this year, it seems that the AIM-132 will only be cleared for outside carry--the non-stealth mode--by the end of SDD.

There have been other degraded affects with the AIM-132 and UK F-35. Back in 2008, program officials announced that it was just too much work to clear the AIM-132 for carry on internal air-to-ground hard-points. In each of the F-35's two internal weapon's bays you have one hard-point which can hold either an air-to-ground weapon or an air-to-air weapon. One door from each of the two bays can also hold an air-to-air missile. This gives the potential for the F-35 to carry 4 air-to-air missiles internally.

Originally the UK expected to have the ability to carry 4 AIM-132s internally; 2 for each weapons bay. With the 2008 announcement, that left the UK with 2 internal carry AIM-132s (hung on the internal part of one of the weapons bay doors) and the other two would be carried externally. In 2008 it was passed off that the external carry would be with low-observable hard-points to carry the missile but program officials have already stated that if you carry weapons externally, you are not stealthy.

A March 2012 briefing now shows no internal carry of the AIM-132 for the end of SDD.

Compare that to this 2009 slide (from a Lockheed Martin 2010 briefing) which reflects what has been briefed for years in relation weapons cleared by the end of SDD. Those weapons with pink text labels.

Ignore the pink on the external fuel tanks. That went away in 2006 when trying to figure out stores separation became too troublesome. Note that the 2012 brief still assumes the UK will have the F-35C. This is no longer so. They are back to the F-35B.

The 2012 brief also has some interesting items about schedule best left for another post.

It will be interesting to see how program officials respond to the idea that the UK just recently said good-bye to internal carry of the AIM-132. An industry observer and military aerospace engineer not attached to the program put forth some possibilities:

ASRAAM is a rail launched weapon so the body is likely not designed to take the loads of an ejection and the exhaust would burn the beejeesus out of the weapon bay, with exhaust plume byproducts being blasted into the bay and onto everything in its flight path, like the EOTS sapphire window.

Then there is the under fuselage crossing angle issue with a rail launch from the door station which would somewhat seriously hinder simultaneous or closely spaced dual launches to consider.

Most likely too, it was yet another case of the PowerPoint not matching engineering reality. Quite normal for this program. Woe to the U.K.

So what does that leave the UK with? AMRAAM. However that has its own trouble with production reliability considering the 2-year-old motor problem and overly optimistic probability-of-kill claims against high-end targets.

The U.K. is currently running a going-out-of-business sale with the military. How the F-35 will help any improvement in their combat capability is a large question.

It may be possible to see weapons clearance options catch up after SDD. However the way the program is struggling, that is the least of the worries for the F-35 faithful who are trying to keep the cause alive.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Giving to those that do not need charity

The current, gullible, Australian leadership gave Indonesia some C-130s for free. Part of the justification was that they could help with border security.

This is an effort by the current Australian leadership to give the impression that they are doing something about the illegal boat arrivals, even if they aren't doing anything (worth-while) about the problem.

Indonesia already has C-130s and most likely intends not to use the ones gifted by the Australian taxpayer for the use imagined by a nutty Australian leadership that has helped balloon national debt to $158B and counting.

In other news; while we are giving stuff to Indonesia that they can easily buy for themselves, they are purchasing used main-battle tanks, new submarines, fighter aircraft and a recent spend on these:

Don't hate the player.

Hate the game.

Growler's roosting chickens have been home awhile

In Australia, when reporting defence issues, occasionally the local news people figure out the plot.

Today's Canberra Times points out what some of us have known for years. That is, that the idea from Defence senior leadership to field a jammer-capable Super Hornet is bad.

The "Growler" upgrade for 12 of Australia's 24 Super Hornets is a bad idea because the gear to be put on it is obsolete.

The U.S. Navy, has known this.

For at least 10 years.

$1.7B (if not more) will be thrown away on dud jamming gear.

Par for the course with Defence senior leadership's faulty air power thinking.

(Slides from U.S. Navy briefing via dated 2002-3)

Monday, August 6, 2012

"New" RAN amphib ship down for 6 months of repair

On its' way to an exercise in June, the RANs new amphibious support ship, HMAS Choules, was stricken by an engineering failure. It will be out of action until the "end of December" reports today's The Australian.

The Choules was bought from the U.K. who are having a going-out-of-business sale with their military for only $100M. The repair is billed as being cheap at $1M. What makes it interesting is the time eliment, amount of down-time for the repair and the business-as-usual lack-of-due-dilligence by the Defence-DMO-RAN cabal.

What failed on the ship was an electrical transformer, however:

The 16,000-tonne vessel was bought by the Gillard government last year to fill the embarrassing capability gap caused by major problems with the Navy's three landing ships, Tobruk, Kanimbla and Manoora.

It was said at the time to be in excellent condition.

But a Royal Navy report from early last year indicated engineers had noted that when it was sailed at full speed its propulsion motors and transformers tended to overheat.

"The running of equipment at near maximum temperatures on a regular basis will likely cause early failure of the motors and transformers," the report said. That report was written a month before Defence Minister Stephen Smith and the Minister for Defence Materiel, Jason Clare, announced Australia's successful bid for the ship.

Currently the frigates are one of the few RAN communities that work. While "successful" at sinking a defenceless target in a recent exercise, a RAN sub that did the job had to go to port due to leaks. The sub-fleet is an expensive disaster. Just as bad, the current leadership can only field a small amount of patrol craft due to poor maintenance and crewing issues. The regional naval assets the RAN have are used as an on-call taxi service for illegal boat people.

At some point and time the public should be asking why we have such an ineffective and expensive naval service.



-Analysis of Defence Materiel Organisation Major Projects Management and What Needs to be Fixed

-Australia's Failing Defence Structure and Management Methodology

Saturday, August 4, 2012

More sub misinformation from the usual sources

It is that time again. About every few months or so the discussion comes up about Australia's useless submarine fleet.

Then we have those that want to continue under the fantasy that subs can be built here at home.

Those stating that off-the-shelf subs will not work, (due to the nonsense-need called "Australianisation" of the product)..guarantee a plan to have no subs.

The ASC, DMO, Navy and rent-seekers are a poisonous team that  ensure failure by their own incompetence on managing the current 6 subs we have.

They do not deserve the taxpayer's trust when talking about submarines.

Off-the-shelf subs make it certain that we can have a continuous, skilled, crew capability. Off-the-shelf subs make it certain that the RAN has some submarine capability as opposed to none.

Not a hard choice if ones only goal is the defence of the nation.


-Find out who is responsible for the Air Warfare Destroyer mess
-Analysis of Defence Materiel Organisation Major Projects Management and What Needs to be Fixed
-How dangerous is the Defence Material Organisation to our Defence Industry?
-Australia's Failing Defence Structure and Management Methodology

Friday, August 3, 2012

22 Years later, U.S. Navy Air in similar trouble

The A-12 was a gigantic failure for the U.S. Navy. Billed as a stealthy striker from the carrier to replace the A-6, it also had joint potential with the USAF.

There were so many design problems; the USAF ducked out of the program and the project was consuming an insane amount of cash. Then U.S. Defense Secretary Cheney, cancelled the project in early 1991 at the start of Desert Storm.

"The A-12 I did terminate. It was not an easy decision to make because it's an important requirement that we're trying to fulfill. But no one could tell me how much the program was going to cost, even just through the full scale development phase, or when it would be available. And data that had been presented at one point a few months ago turned out to be invalid and inaccurate."

Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, 1991

What is interesting is that just a few months before, in the September/October 1990  (Vol. 72, No. 6) issue of Naval Aviation News (Then billed as the Navy's oldest periodical) the "editor" and boss Vice-Admiral Richard M. Dunleavy, Assistant Chief of Navl Operations (Air Warfare) penned a lead article, "A-12: Confronting the Flak".

According to Admiral Dunleavy, A-12 problems were workable and America needed it. No matter that first flight wasn't until 1992, if not later. Or that the development was 30% over designed aircraft weight yet somehow had passed "critical design review".  You may have seen similar words about troubled weapons systems before.

What makes the interesting article suddenly fascinating is when you compare it to today's situation. I have put the article below as it was a poorly imaged PDF file.

Upon reading the article, my thought was, "wow!". Today's top Naval leaders are saying the same thing about the troubled F-35C.

-click on each separate paragraph image as needed to view at a larger size-

H/T-a reader

Personal account of USAF Cold War MiG squadron

Bill Sweetman has a great story of a recent personal account from a former USAF guy that was part of the Cold War program flying Soviet-made (or similar) MiG aircraft in Nevada.

Those days were secret, dangerous yet eye-opening.

That proved to be a very important test. "In 1987 we had the AIM-9P, which was designed to reject flares, and when we used US flares against it would ignore them and go straight for the target. We had the Soviet flares – they were dirty, and none of them looked the same – and the AIM-9P said 'I love that flare'.

"Why’d that happen? We had designed it to reject American flares. The Soviet flares had different burn time, intensity and separation. The same way, every time we tried to build a SAM simulator, when we got the real thing it wasn’t the same.

"I use the AIM-9P because it is out of the system and I can talk about it. The same thing happened to a lot of things that are still in the system and that I can’t talk about."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

ADF helicopter community reporting of flight safety events brought into question

Rarely do I comment on safety-of-flight issues as I have spent time supporting accident investigation teams and sometimes things are not always as they seem. However this caught my eye in today's The Australian in regard to an ADF CH-47 mishap in Afghanistan:

“There have been attempts, of course, to fix the system, but in fact the systematic failures within army aviation have continued.”

Wing Commander Jonas criticised the practice in Afghanistan of recording problems with the Chinook helicopter in an incident book without sending the problems up the chain of command and notifying superiors in Australia.

“There could have been amply qualified individuals in Australia ... that could have gone 'ping, there is a problem that needs addressing',” he said.

“What happened in Afghanistan, stayed in Afghanistan.

“The command chain needs to address this.”

Stryker upgrades

Not the biggest Stryker fan, but these upgrades are important. Be interesting to see a follow-on variant that is more Pacific oriented.

Def. Min. Smith misses the mark: again

Poor Smith. A speech about not very much. And, troubling assumptions:

And we continue to progress our core capabilities, including the future submarines, the AWDs, the LHDs, the naval combat helicopters, the Joint Strike Fighter, the Caribou replacements, vehicles for Army, Chinooks and maritime patrol.

Well, if Defence and/or this Government were honestly concerned about "maritime patrol", we would have the successful Howard plan for illegal boats in action. Granted; more of an attitude and less platform specific. However, Smith mentioning platforms in excess is a plan to fail; but moving right along.

The intelligentsia, policy wonks, senior Defence leaders or other self-important actors, pay pretty poor attention to something that continues to put major weapons system buys at risk. Over and over again:

An Analysis of Defence Materiel Organisation Major Projects Management and What Needs to be Fixed

Australia's Failing Defence Structure and Management Methodology

I do have one additional theory of why Defence thinking in Australia is in such a bad way.