Sunday, September 30, 2012

SMH-Defence gear gone, public pays the bill

This article shows how the gap from negligence to conflict-of-interest to fraud is easily bridged when no useful oversight or enforcement is in place.

The Defence Integrated Distribution Services contract caused controversy in 2001 when then defence minister Peter Reith cancelled the original tender process and gave six bidders $1 million each to re-submit claims. In 2002, Mr Reith's successor, Robert Hill, announced Tenix-Toll as the preferred tenderer. Mr Reith was working as a consultant for Tenix at the time, having not contested the 2001 election.

Good reporting.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Opine decline

Another Defence opinion piece that doesn't properly recognize huge problems with the entrenched defence bureaucracy. That and continuing the GDP vs Defence budget meme which results in giving more of our money to a pack of substance abusers.

Thanks to the last Coalition government, the ADF acquired Abrams tanks, Javelin missiles, Super Hornet fighters, armed reconnaissance helicopters, airborne early warning and control aircraft, patrol boats and C-17 long-range jet transports. Three large Air Warfare Destroyers and two helicopter carriers larger than HMAS Melbourne were ordered and paid for.

The Super Hornet was the result of a failed Liberal government decision on problems with the Just So Failed F-35 which threw their fuzzy math of $16B for the F-35 to well above $22B and counting. All for non-solutions to keeping air supremacy in the coming decades.

Within the same timeframe, the government would make the decisions in relation to our acquisition of the Joint Strike Fighters and to ensure there is no submarine capability gap.

Good luck with those faulty aircraft and rent-seeking inspired submersibles.

Liberals have more "cred" on Defence than Labor. OK, well, then, prove it. Fix the big problems. Including, firing a bunch of people that contribute nothing to defending the nation.

Oh wait. Can't do that can you? No courage. No moral courage.

In the end, leadership of both parties only care about staying in power. That requires gullible voters. Secured via vote-buying with taxpayer dollars, propaganda or both.

F-35 fan-base marches on

It is more fun when you take nonsense like this, copy paste it into a new document, double-space each line, print it out, then sit down and mark up all of the wrong statements with a red pen.

Some history:

Lockheed Flack Denies F-35 Problems

LockMart Consultant Calls Reporter Unethical

JSF Engine "Competition" Story Rises From The Grave

JSF Production Won't Meet Planned Numbers - Says WHO?

F-35 Proponents Say The Darndest Things

JSF Is Fine, Says LockMart Consultant


Friday, September 28, 2012

F-100 Website


Look at all the photo albums on the left-side links of the site. Impressive capture of days gone by.

RAAF F-35 costs being ignored, spun, by leadership

Our old classic Hornets will have to go out to the years beyond 2020 because the Just So Failed is very late.

That is the best-case scenario reported by The Australian.

They report that our 71 old, classic F-18 Hornets cost $170M per year to sustain. That is about $2.39M per aircraft per year. Well, they are old, obsolete and should have been retired by now.

The following is what The Australian didn't report:

So what would each new F-35 cost per year to sustain according to estimates in the U.S.? Using American dollars, each F-35 is expected to cost $35,500 per flying hour. Throwing some numbers around, the cost (USD) to sustain one F-35 for one year could look like this depending on how much it was flown:

180 hours per year = $6.4M
200 hours per year = $7.1M
220 hours per year = $7.8M

An Australian government set of figures for cost per flying hour from last year showed our old classic Hornets as as: $11,770 per flying hour. That is based on a fleet of 71 totalling 13,000 flying hours for a year (183 hours per airframe per year) for $2.15M per airframe per year in sustainment.

The Australian Supers were shown as $23,000 per flying hour. One would hope that would come down as learning curve grows on a new type.

So, the F-35 is not only very expensive to acquire, but very expensive to own and operate. It has significant faults. There is still no finished go-to-war design to evaluate. It won't be able to stand up to emerging Pacific Rim threats.

Yet the government says, “buy”.

With budget troubles of all kinds, the RAAF is expected to live within its mean. I am sure the RAAF/DMO/Defence cabal will find a way to apply an interesting spin to all this.

They always do.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Valley of what?

Minister Jason Clare says there is a valley of death.

I rather think there is a valley of waste.


Defence looks toward Japan for help. Two high risk projects for Australia: the F-35 and submarines.

At least Japan had some sense and went with a U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) deal with the Just So Failed. Not that this will help defend their, or our, skies much.

With the DMO having their grubby hands involved wrangling the rent-seekers, how can it go wrong?

Labor has shown their gross incompetence dealing with Defence. The return of the other party next year offers no solutions either. Both think money is the problem and, other than platitude and more bad decisions, offer no clear way of removing the dead wood, or improving management competence.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


In relation to aircraft observability to radar and vulnerability to associated firing solutions, there still seems to be a lot of confusion out there of what defines a stealth aircraft and what defines a "balanced" survivability aircraft design.

True stealth aircraft designs take a great deal of care to make sure that the areas of interest (such as a nose-on aspect) have good shaping.

Balanced survivability fighter aircraft designs like the Typhoon, the Rafale and Super-Hornet try to use shape and radar absorbing material and skin where possible along with trying to hide the leading edge of jet engine components, to degrade the effects of the kinds of radars that are most likely to kill you, such as air-intercept-radar, radar in missile seekers and high-frequency surface-to-air missile radar ground guidance stations. The results have been reported as tactically useful, but they are not stealth aircraft.

Where are stealth aircraft and balanced survivability aircraft designs on this chart?

The "balanced" part comes in where in a terminal defensive situation, the use of on-board defensive jamming aids--combined with the enhancements mentioned above--help to further reduce the effects of enemy radar emitters. A towed decoy fused to the defensive system (for example, the ALE-50/55 on the Super Hornet) helps survivability in terminal enemy missile events even more.

While on-board defensive jamming may make your general location locatable, it makes it harder for the enemy to use a radar-homing missile against such aircraft in a defensive situation.

The survivability design of the F-35 is flawed. Badly. The F-35 has good nose-on shaping; just not so good anywhere else.

Welcome to "affordable", "export-friendly" stealth. That was the hope anyway. Or the hopes of what may be the greatest defense industry Ponzi scheme.


The F-35 is neither balanced survivability nor a true stealth aircraft. The F-35 has no credible defensive jamming. Those selling the idea that the F-35's AESA radar as a defensive device against enemy terminal radar concerns aren't believable. Power output limits, thermal concerns along with the limited field of view and in-band frequency limits make the idea of the F-35 radar as a defensive solution of little value. It is only useful on a marketing PowerPoint slide to the clueless. And, unlike the designers of the F-22, the F-35 will not be in possession of true stealth, high-speed and high altitude to help degrade enemy no-escape-zone firing solutions of weapons. The thrust-vectoring on the F-22 is also an aid for quickly changing direction at Mach and not just sub-sonic speed.

The balanced survivability people have a workable solution, combined with, "man's got to know his limitations", (Dirty Harry; Magnum Force).

The F-22 designers also have a workable defensive solution: extreme performance regardless if the aircraft is or is not, naked due to degraded low observability event.

The F-35 design is not useful for future air combat survival. And, certainly, not at any price. Further, the numerous faults in the design--since it will be unable to face emerging threats and is too expensive to own and operate for anything else--point toward "balanced" survivability aircraft like the Typhoon, Rafale and Super Hornet, as providing more overall value to an air arm.

By 2020 (if there are no more delays), a seriously flawed F-35 may be ready to fight an air war 21 years earlier: ALLIED FORCE 1999.

Failure of the F-35 program--for a nation over $16T in the red--should be easy to define.

Monday, September 24, 2012

"Small" fire on Collins sub

On the 15th of September, according to Defence, a "small" fire happened aboard a Collins class sub. Decide how many smalls were used in this release for yourself.

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Making the USMC worthwhile for a nation over $16T in the red

The U.S. cannot, and should not, fund, parts of the military that provide no value.

The United States Marine Corps (USMC) does have vaule. Just, not the way we are using it or funding it.

Unfortunately, today, the USMC depends much on its image as opposed to its actual vaule to America's warfighting ability.

Does it field nuclear weapons for strategic deterrance? No. Does it have the force to handle large wars? No. Is it useful in the National Guard structure? No.

Is the idea of fielding a large number of assets to refight Tarawa a good idea? No. For one reason being that against a real opponent, there is such a diverse collection of weapons to make plinking landing craft easy. Look again at the failed Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) requirement that got to $25M each. It was imagined that EFV ability would allow its big mother-ships to be farther out to sea when performing against opposed beach-heads. Reason distance from shore was used as a selling point? The diverse range of weapons available for a capable enemy to use.

History has not been kind to this kind of warfare thinking in an era where the military industrial congressional complex struggles to find an enemy worthy of American tax-payer support. A USMC amphibious landing could not be done in Desert Storm because it was too risky. Those forces sat out to sea. For starters, naval mines stopped that idea. Imagine if the enemy had been more capable. Also in Desert Storm we used a USMC land task force...doing the job of a second land army.

Like today, the United States Marketing Corps (Marketing is the mission not Marines) has to be where the main action is to keep funds rolling in, even if there is plenty of work for small-force USMC security actions in today's littorals. For some years now, new Marines have arrived in Afghanistan having never been near a boat.

We no longer have the funds to pay for such waste of resources.

Today, the second-land-army title fits. We do not need to fund a second land army. DOD planners should re-look at the map and recognize that Afghanistan is not a littoral environment. The littoral environment is the ONLY justification for having the USMC.

After Afghanistan, oh what will the United States Marketing Corps do?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

F-35--spend more, get less

Aviation Week reports that small-diameter bomb clearance for the F-35 will be pushed beyond Block 3 to Block 4 at the end of the decade. There are several important points to bring up about this decision.

When the Joint Strike Fighter contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin in 2001 which became today's F-35, this marked the beginning of the System Development and Demonstration phase (SDD). The end of SDD would mean a complete Block 3 aircraft would be ready so that the next phase, Full Rate Production (FRP) could happen.

The small-diameter bomb (SDB) was created not so much as to reduce collateral damage in the time of its creation of useless conterinsergecy warfare but to provide aircraft the ability to carry more precision weapons for destruction of enemy air defenses and various other ground targets. It was determined that there were vast kinds of target sets that could be killed with small warheads and that not every target needed a 2000, 1000, or 500-pound air-to-ground weapon to kill it. Today's F-15E can carry several SDBs compared to other kinds of air-to-ground weapons. The F-22 can carry 8 of these inside its small bay.

SDB also has the penetration quality of the 2000-pound steel-pointy-tip BLU-109 bomb unit which is usually mated to precision-guided kits.

The SDB has a fold out wing to provide increased range. As a low-treat-war weapon it is useless because there are so many other cheaper options available for low collateral work. That and the fact that the long time of flight of the weapon even at short range, is unacceptable for close air support work.

In 2006, the U.S. Department of Defense released a contract (4th paragraph) that would add the SDB to the list of air-to-ground weapons cleared (for USAF) F-35A's by the end of F-35 System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase. This same contract also removed the Wind Corrected Munitions Despenser (for example CBU-105 which is used to deploy BLU-108 "skeets") from the list of weapons to be cleared by the end of F-35 SDD.

Because of development trouble, this same contract removed external fuel tanks from the F-35's end of SDD requirement. In the following year, briefings to Norway showed exernal fuel tank capability with the F-35 even after the contract had been released removing them from SDD. Later, Lockheed Martin briefings hawked this as an advantage, "Look, the F-35 is so advanced, it doesn't need external fuel tanks".

The marketing crew and faithful followers--on most days it is hard to tell the difference--continue to shed light on various hopes and dreams for the program. Notional block 4, 5 and 6 efforts (post SDD) show all kinds of things. Block 4 is now the Blue-Sky-Marketing gimmick used to dump things that should have been figured out earlier. Drag-chutes for the origial Norway requirement, and now the small-diameter bomb, and a variety of software features that are in a morally flexible "plan" for Block 2 and Block 3.

The end of Block 3 SDD will be lucky to show an F-35 that can use a few select weapons in a beneign flight envelop.

Another weapon that disappeared from SDD (and Block 3) was internal carry of the air-to-air missile known as the AIM-132 ASRAAM. This was a U.K. requirement. Now, because of over-promise early in the program backed up by poor risk-assessment, that too is gone. Engineers are unable to provide this capability. Currently, AIM-132 will only see clearance on the outer wing hardpoints.

So, not only are the cost, development problems, and delay magnifiying with the troubled F-35 program, but the end of SDD (which is supposed to signify a realitively complete ....and operational...jet) shows that we are getting much less than the promise.

As more time goes on, continue to watch as less capability is delivered for what will be, an obsolete-to-the-threat and faulty aircraft.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Poor analysis

Not the best analysis.

As Lockheed Martin has found out with the both the F-22 and the F-35, fifth-generation fighters are hard to get right: the F-22 was recently grounded with a system problem that was causing pilots to black out, while the F-35 is behind schedule, over budget and testing the patience of the U.S. Air Force to the limits.

So, because a U.S. deskilled and groupthink-rich environment has such problems, those same problems will be there for the Chinese? Well, that is an environment that would have people shot for doing what the U.S. military-industrial-congressional-complex has done.

Also, I am curious how many communist factories let you drink your lunch under a tree in your pick-up truck?

And, the U.S. only has one fifth-generation fighter. The other that marketing pukes are trying to push as such is a complete disaster.

I suspect that Chinese problems will be somewhat different.

The key challenge facing Chinese designers is not in coming up with a stealthy platform, but the systems that go inside it. These include electro-optic sensors and an AESA fire-control radar – a generational jump in technology that comes as standard on F-35s and F-22s; stealthy coatings; and reliable engines. The latter are a particular bugbear for China, which has for years relied on Russian technology to power its fast jets. Many Western observers believe the Shen Fei is powered by two Russian-sourced Klimov RD-93 turbofans, reinforcing perceptions that this particular weakness is holding China back. The fact that the same images show that these engines appear to be ill-fitting suggests that Shenyang may be following the lead of Chengdu, which is believed to be trying out a number of different engines on the J-20.

The author needs to use a push mower on a warm summer day while wearing winter gear. Then maybe he will understand the concept of "thermal issues" with the F-35 and the show room options he claims work in an unproven and troubled weapons system that is way short of real operational testing.

As for the avionics, I would think the Chinese will not over reach like the U.S. has with the Just-So-Failed. They might use something like, oh, I don't know, a HUD, instead of a helmet/display fubar.

Engines? Yeah sure. And, we will see.

Free money


The United States was also spending some $600 million over the next five years to fund “clean energy development, child health and nutrition programs, and efforts to help make Indonesia’s government more transparent and open,” Clinton said.

BTW, the U.S. is over $16T in the red. But yeah, handing out cash that doesn't belong to you.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


We could have fought all of the Pacific effort in WWII by the time these guys get this figured out. And then some.

If they get it figured out. No more extra money and all that.

UK MOD makes up story on F-35 concerns

All the difficulty and yet the UK MOD entrenched bureaucracy doesn't get it.

An MoD spokesman said: “The UK has been at the heart of the Joint Strike Fighter programme for over 10 years, playing a key role in development and production with 15 per cent of the work carried out in the UK.

The programme remains on track and we have recently taken delivery of our first test fighter jet..”

Yeah, the UK took delivery of its first F-35. It is in no way, anywhere close to working with go-to-war systems.

More nonsense on Defence issues from The Australian

The Australian has an interesting read from Mr. Sheridan who has an opinion on a variety of Defence matters.

Interesting because it is mostly bad.

He believes in the 2009 Defence White Paper even though it is a joke.

He believes in 100 "Joint Strike Fighters" even though the program is in serious trouble.

Be believes in the "Air Warfare Destroyers" and Canberra-class Amphibs even if the RAN management, along with the DMO management is a shambles.

Unless real adults are willing to fix show-stopping root-cause problems with Defence leadership, bureacracy and the DMO, anything else is a waste of time. This includes comments by some about the need of a higher GDP vs. Defence budget meme.

So, along with bad Defence policy, we have in these parts of the world, a majority of bad Defence reporting. The two make perfect bookends.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

F-35 fan-base still out there trying

Interesting questions leading to the wrong conclusion.

Simply because the F-35 will not be able to take on PacRim threats.


I had high-hopes for the new USAF boss.

Now? So soon... I worry...

If forced to make more cuts, Welsh said he would begin by looking at airplanes restricted to a single mission. He cited as an example the A-10 Warthog, which was developed in the early 1970’s to provide close air support for ground forces.

“The single-mission airplanes are the ones that would get the most scrutiny first,” Welsh said.

His weapons priorities remain the F-35, the KC-46 tanker, which is in development, and a future long-range bomber, he said. “Those three things are fundamental to the future of our air force,” he said.

Long-range bomber=single-mission. Tanker? OK you can haul cargo and personnel with it too.

A-10? Works. Has little failure having done what was asked of it. And, can continue to do so for many more years.


The F-35 “operationally is performing pretty well,” Welsh said.

Hope he gets up to speed or our beloved USAF is in for more trouble.

STOVL hopes

A description of the base in Afghanistan where that attack took place that removed most of a USMC short take-off-and vertical landing (STOVL) Harrier squadron.

Sturdevant said that move became possible in part because of the expansion and development at Bastion, which already was in use in 2009 and 2010 despite not yet having an entirely closed perimeter wall. A $200 million runway stretching more than two miles was installed in 2010, enabling U.S. forces there to land C-5 cargo planes, 747 passenger jets, which are used as troop charters, and other behemoth aircraft.


-Value of STOVL F-35B over-hyped

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Another LOL advert fail

Another misplaced advert for the day...

More on the big display for the Super

Maybe Mr. Thomson's 60 Super Hornets can have this display.

Marketing and such.

Defence budget vs. GDP red herring

The red herring for Defence that means... really... nothing:

"This in turn will raise questions - not now but well down the track - whether we will be able to continue to meet our defence needs with just under 2 per cent of GDP.

With such irresponsible and incompetent management of Defence programs, more money just means more opportunities to throw it away on stupid decisions.

The moronic cart-before-the-horse thinking must stop. Or, expect no improvement with the moribund and dysfunctional entrenched Defence bureaucracy.

Taking command

I have found that a good photo of General LeMay always gets everyone's attention.

Transisition time before taking command of a military organisation is when one finds out about the real status of what they are taking over.

The USAF's own General Bogdan is replacing Admiral Venlet as head of the troubled U.S. Department of Defense, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program Office.

The F-35 program troubles are the like of which...well the world has never seen the like of which.

Bogdan took the stage earlier today at the Air Force Association (AFA) gathering which is held every September. AFA events are usually happy affairs where various movers and shakers in the United States Air Force gather to announce the state-of-the-state as it were. Industry is also there purposes.

Bogdan's speech was to tell everyone the latest about the USAF's alleged future fighter aircraft, the F-35. The one that service leaders have morgaged our future tacital air roadmap on.

So how's it going General?

If the F-35 faithful were expected more stories of how the troubled program was, well, troubled, but moving forward, what Bogdan offered them was a dead cat thrown on the stage.

Bogdan told the audience he has never seen a program stakeholder relationship this bad (and he has seen some bad ones) reports Aviation Week.

He went on:

Bogdan threatened the industrial team with a drop-kick to the pocketbook. Dealing with the contentious issue of operating costs, he said that competing estimates were so sensitive to assumptions that "they can't inform any of us about what to do and what not to do. I'm not listening to any of them. I'm looking at what we have in front of us today - and the strategy is wrong and it needs to be changed."

I figure Bogdan should be interesting to watch. And with a nation $16T in debt, maybe he will offer some different options for our U.S. tac-air future.

It is confirmed that Bogdan did not have a shotgun nor did he hurt anything, except maybe some feelings. And, he didn't need special glasses to see the problem.

Advert placement kills article


Unfortunate advert placement this morning in "The Australian".

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Monday, September 17, 2012

More thoughts on the unveiling of the Chinese J-21 stealth fighter

Bill has some interesting thoughts about China's new J-21 stealth fighter over on Aviation Week's Ares blog.

Bill also points to this piece of history from another source:

In the past year (2009) alone, Lockheed Martin found “six to eight companies” among its subcontractors “had been totally compromised – emails, their networks, everything” according to Lockheed Martin chief information security officer Anne Mullins.

He sees the F-35 if the short-take-off-vertical-landing (STOVL)was not a requirement. STOVL design requirements have caused numerous problems with all 3 F-35 variants.

It will be interesting to see what mission sets China expects out of the J-21. I still think this design is complementary to the J-20 for achieving regional air supremacy.

It is obvious that the compromised U.S. data has born fruit. If it were me designing this thing, I would have built the center section around the F-22 main weapon's bay. It is a better bay for performance aircraft.

I suppose the coming months will see how far these assumptions go.

Solutions needed

Yeah we know that. What is going to be done about it?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

China puts out the welcome mat for Panetta visit--a new stealth fighter

U.S. Defense Secretary Panetta will be visiting China this week. The NY Times has a short summary of the pivot to Asia such as it is.

Or maybe his visit is about Chinese communist bullying in the region.

China has put out the welcome mat already. Chinese internet sources have shown this photo of the new J-21 stealth fighter prototype.

The J-21 gives the appearance of a pure air-superiorty machine, that would be more in the area of the F-22 than its' predecessor, the J-20.

The absense of rearward facing low observable nozzles on the J-21 could be:

1. They haven't figured that out, and that this of course is a prototype waiting on other design issues.
2. They don't want to spend that much on the airframe and consider something like "affordable stealth" (frontward facing and easy to the F-35) good enough for the missions it will perform.

David and others consider the idea that China may only be able to afford either the J-20 or J-21. I'm not so sure. I would put my money on the J-21 being more air supremancy with some possible light strike ability, and the J-20 carrying more (longer range) strike capability yet being able to do interceptor duty.

A balanced approach in capability planning: backed up by tankers, airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and on their own turf, a credible integrated air defence system (IADS).

China's long game is steady. When matched up against a country over $16T in debt that has seriously de-skilled defence-thinking, China should be more than secure about defending their local interests into the future.

Enemy takes out Harrier capability at Afghan base

AP and the U.S. Department of Defense are reporting that an enemy attack on a British base in Afghanistan that killed two U.S. Marines (from Yuma) pretty much wiped out the Harrier capability stationed there.

For the loss of 14 dead attackers who didn't expect this to be anything other than a one-way mission and given the enemy's tactics, this is a good return on investment.

In what was described as a well rehearsed, well coordinated and well equipped attack, 15 enemy dressed as U.S. Army personnel destroyed 6 Harrier fighter jets--with two more being "significantly damaged"--3 refueling stations and damaged 6 aircraft hangers.

The term "hanger" are just the soft-skinned ones to protect from the elements.

The number of Harriers on an Afghanistan deployment can vary. Some deployments have been 10 aircraft. It is unknown what the total number of Harriers were on this deployment.

Basing aircraft in unpacified enemy territory always has this kind of risk. And, the more expensive the aircraft, the more bang-for-the-buck for an enemy using low-tech gear and good planning and tactics.

Previously, coalition forces in Afghanistan have suffered damaged and destroyed aircraft from enemy artillery attacks. In 2005 the UK lost one Harrier destroyed and one damaged due to a rocket attack at a base in Afghanistan. Conflicts where insurgents severely damaged opposing force's airfields include Vietnam and the recent Sri Lanka civil war.

The Marines, want to replace their harriers with the faulty, troubled and under-tested F-35.

The want for STOVL ability in a fighter jet has always been a must have for the USMC even though claims of its' over-all war-fighting benefit are dubious.

The F-35 program is in such trouble that the USMC expect to use their Harriers out to 2030.

The U.S. lead coalition has been unable to define a realistic reason that we should pay billions per year to prop up a corrupt government in a region that has no defensive value to the United States.

Afghanistan started out as a well run punitive mission and then turned toward the dark-side of stupidity by trying to nation-build a tribal culture.

With the full original reason of Operation:USELESS DIRT now realized--get Osama--coming home sooner rather than later is the smart play.

Even if defense contractors who make their money off of wasted U.S. tax-dollars in this dumb campaign continue to pressure Congress to stay the course for some future meaningless pull out date. Or, better yet, a continued effort forever.

With most of the surge troops gone in Afghanistan, protecting coalition bases--without more boots and a major infusion of loitering airpower and JTACS--will be difficult.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Commander's call topic propaganda

F-35 propaganda even shows up in Squadron Commander's Call topic sheet.

Pretty sad.

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Not the first time either.

Maybe they should explain during a commanders call how numerous USAF bosses bungled the tacair roadmap.

For years.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Little Bien Hoa

3 Afghans killed, NATO chopper destroyed in attack

S. Korean helicopter damaged in artillery attack on U.S. base in Afghanistan

Defence fief

I'm curious how many in the entrenched defence bureaucracy or defence-wide voted labor?

Elections have consequences.

What I find funny is anyone that thinks the joke of the 2009 Defence White Paper has value.

I would suggest that if money is low for Defence, that this would be a good time to get rid of the dead wood. That would be the excess of Defence civilians, flag-ranks and senior executive service.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

DOD rejects F-35 operational test plan

In a meeting last Friday, the U.S. Department of Defense rejected a comprehensive operational test plan for the F-35. Depending on your point of view, this is either a sign of sanity or more meddling by the U.S. government on an important defense program.

Operational testing normally assumes that the airframe has the basic flight envelop figured out, that the aircraft has some way of employing weapons via already complete tests and is safe enough to fly for go-to-war operations. The F-35 program has not met any of these requirements.

The flight envelop is still limited. The operational gear on the aircraft is not ready; guns, bomb-dropping, missile firing, sensors and there seems no indication that this will get done any time soon.

Almost 6 years after first flight.

A former LM official tried to make a case for his team. He even mentioned the U2 and SR-71. The problem with this is that in that era, the company had innovative engineers that ran the show and not marketing / management pukes that have no idea about the definition of a "quantum leap."

The former LM guy also mentioned the F-16. A few points. The F-16 was originally designed as a throw-away jet to be built in affordable numbers to meet a Soviet threat. The F-35 camp keeps throwing out terms like 30, 40, 65 years of program life. Whatever.

And, in the late 70's the newly operational F-16 won a NATO tactical bomb competition in Scotland against the likes of the A-7, Jaguar and F-111. The F-16 was not only a dead accurate day-dumb-bomber, it could defend itself reasonably well and

The news also reports that LM is having trouble meeting earned value management metrics (EVM). This has been a challenge for a few years.

What are we spending to develop and produce the F-35? Well, according to EVM, we might not know.

The Pentagon's Defense Contracts Management Agency also gave an update on its work monitoring Lockheed's Earned Value Management System after announcing in June that it would withhold 5 percent of the price of the fifth lot of production planes due to continued shortcomings with the system.

The United States Marketing Corps boss is quotable about the troubled F-35 helmet that is a critical piece of man-machine interface. If only that were the only fixable F-35 problem to get it toward operational viability.

Our politicians are a problem with the F-35 for sure. Mixed messages. For example, McCain states there are serious F-35 troubles and then when on his home turf, those things are glossed over and well, he is trying to get reelected.

So, without a credible operational testing plan, the F-35 program office will have to do more work. And there are all those wasted resources at Eglin which at this time, might produce some trained pilots that can perform an equal number of take-offs and landings with the aircraft but not much else.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

White elephant march

The rent-seekers are very worried.

Some are even thinking that a 4th Air Warfare Destroyer should be built so-as to keep the work-force busy so it will be available to participate in the delayed project known as Operation:BARKING MAD, also known as the $36B+ gold-plated submarine white elephant.

Little mention of what will help provide a valid defence for the nation.

Where would we find the crew for 4 air warfare destroyers? Or 3?

Where would we find the crew for the coming Canberra-class amphibious ships?

Also, note that with the largess wanted by the RAN, there are things like the Joint Strike Failure and a mess of a helicopter fleet to think about.

An amazing collection of white-elephants. Much of it unfunded with the country being in such massive budget red-ink.

Submarines? Well with the government "plan", we would have the on-going bleeding wound of the Collins nonsense into the next decade at around $700M+ per year.

For a less than useless "capability".

Maybe another white paper written by Dunning-Kruger Inc. will save us from the white elephants.

Our inglorious Defence "planning" continues.

The rent-seekers will do anything, say anything, even if it means destroying the defensive posture of the military (oh wait, that is mostly done) just so they can have their annual fief.

South Australia et al rent-seeking lobbying shouldn't be allowed to take the rest of the country along on their stupid ideas.

Fraud by trick or device.

Until the country wakes up, we will not have a real, yet affordable military.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Canadian politicians have a better understanding of F-35 risk

Canada, and not the U.S. or Australia, has a better understanding of F-35 risk.

Along with that:

In the United States, we don't punish officials for offering misleading statements; we promote them. In 2008, the Air Force's manager for the F-35 program, Major General Charles R. Davis, asserted that the "flyaway" cost of its F-35As would be between $60 and $70 million by the time the purchase reached its fourth production lot and that it might even be less than that. Contemporary with Davis' forecast, GAO had been writing reports warning Congress about optimistic estimates of F-35 cost and schedule. The GAO reports were roundly ignored by Congress and the Pentagon, as were other insiders and experts who spoke out publicly.

In 2012, real-time Department of Defense data for that fourth production batch shows a flyaway cost about double Davis' prediction. For being wrong by a factor of at least two, Davis was given a promotion to lieutenant general and a new job: to oversee the entire Air Force acquisition budget -- more than $40 billion annually.

Similarly, from 2009 to 2011 Ashton Carter served as the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, overseeing all Pentagon weapons purchases. He took special interest in the F-35 program and frequently reported to Congress. When he came to office, Carter was confronted with an analysis from a Joint Estimating Team (JET) predicting $11.6 billion in cost growth just over the next five years, and a year later a "JET II" analysis predicted even more cost growth and delays over the long term. Carter postured, saying he favored the JET reports, but he implemented only some of their recommendations -- ignoring especially the long-term implications for cost growth. A subsequent GAO report made all that clear, and still -- two years later -- some, but not all, additional F-35 cost growth has been acknowledged by the Pentagon.

Despite Carter's half measures and disingenuous embrace of the JET recommendations, senators praised him and unanimously confirmed his promotion to be deputy secretary of defense in 2011. Today, he is a prime candidate to replace Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta if President Obama wins re-election.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Over-optimism won't help Quickstep investors

Today's Australian Financial Review (AFR) has s special report Defence insert.

It has a piece of overly optimistic reporting on Quickstep and its industry hopes on the F-35.

It states that they hope for $700M over 20 years on F-35 work.

Yet in 2010 that was shown as "potential".

The article also implies that the U.S. is going to get 2400-some F-35s.

Given how the business plan has fallen down for the F-35, that many jets is a very big dream.

Poor investors getting mislead by a puff-piece article by an alleged leader in Australia on big-business finance "reporting".

I wonder where the rent-seekers will see their billions in F-35 work for Australia?

Defence futures...

If the government continues its' anti-business ways, I figure they won't have any trouble finding crew for new ships. Assuming money can be found to sustain them.

We have lots of flag-ranks, senior-executive-service and thousands of Defence civilians to feed, don't you know?

The federal budget: there are so many billions in give-aways from paying people to breed to encouraging people to work less that foreign investment is taking a down-turn because of a variety of inefficiencies colored by red and green tape.

And the national debt is massive. Yet, throwing unfunded billions at vote-buying continues.

Be nice to see if the next white paper (or white pamphlet) addresses real needs like patrol boats and I would suggest, affordable airborne maritime patrol.

Rent seeking for expensive and faulty weapons systems rules the day.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Darker shades of blue

Conversations around a Doctrine Man post (Facebook) asked how a commanding officer could have influence on aircraft accidents.

Besides the cover-up years ago by the USMC on Osprey maintenance, we have this from many years ago, when a "rogue" pilot in a USAF B-52 Wing Stan-Eval shop was allowed to break rules over a long period of time. The Wing leadership knew of the rogue, but little was done. And events played out to a natural conclusion.

On the 24th of June 1994, Czar 52, a B-52H assigned to the 325th Bomb Squadron, 92d Bomb Wing, Fairchild Air Force Base, WA, launched at approximate 1358 hours Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), to practice maneuvers for an upcoming airshow. The aircrew had the planned and briefed a profile, through the Wing Commander level, that grossly exceeded aircraft and regulatory limitations. Upon preparing to land at the end of the practice airshow profile, the crew was required to execute a "go-around" or missed approach because of another aircraft on the runway. At mid-field, Czar 52 began a tight 360 degree left turn around the control tower at only 250 feet altitude above ground level (AGL). Approximately three quarters of the way through the turn, the aircraft banked past 90 degrees, stalled, clipped a power line with the left wing and crashed. Impact occurred at approximately 1416 hours PDT. There were no survivors out of a crew of four field grade officers.

Carr is wrong with Afghanistan

Foreign Minister Carr--part of the chicken-hawk brigade--has stated Australia's reputation would be damaged by an early withdrawal of soldiers from Afghanistan, reports Sky News.

'Australia making a dash for it - that would do our reputation enormous harm.'

Doubtful. Afghanistan is going to fold anyway. Most likely, the labor government is going next year. Being remembered for a good decision (getting out now and throwing this fool's errand behind us) would be a better way to sign-off next year than being part of the sheep.

Where the public is seriously let down is that Gillard and Abbott believe Afghanistan is a worthy effort. And, I don't care particularly who someone votes for; but when you have complicity on a stupid venture on this scale, we have serious policy problems.

The "oh-we-have-to-follow-the-U.S.", is not an answer. U.S. and Australian relations cannot be hurt based on sound discussion of strategic facts.

In other news, Australia ran an op in Afghanistan after the killing of our solders. Depending on who you believe, it went OK or it went bad. Bad as in, it damaged that reputation that concerns Carr so much because Tony Sopranno, the head of the Afghanistan government didn't like what happened.

I would love to see Abbott, Gillard and Carr carry a pack and rifle in Operation: USELESS DIRT for a while and then see what they think.

Until then, our brave soldiers are locked into a no-win scenario.

Unless someone is willing to fund 500,000 actual boots on the ground (not counting support troops), and bomb Pakistan until there is no more cross-border insurgent help, for...several years, then I do not see any credible plan for victory, in an op that has no valid defensive value to the citizens of Australia.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

This is how we won WWII... not...

This Operation:USELESS DIRT update is just more utter stupidity.

Look at all the wasted manpower and time better used to...oh, I don't know, try and win a war that certain fools think is so important.

As Rawley points out; garrison mentality.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Wilkie on target

Not especially bright on fighting non-state actors.

The former defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon, now government whip, said Australia was pursuing the right strategy. "Every one of these incidents causes me to rethink our strategy but every time I rethink it, I come out with the same conclusion, which is that we cannot allow everything we've done to be in vain."

The big difference from Vietnam that I forgot to mention earlier; Linebacker II. This was the December '72 bombing campaign against Hanoi and Haiphong Harbour which brought the North Vietnamese to the peace table. The VC were not pure non-state actors. Suddenly declaring Hanoi and Haiphong Harbour a permanent bombing range produced results. A corrupt South Vietnam or no, we later gave away that treaty by not bombing North Vietnam right where they live, again, when they went South. Thanks for nothing, President Ford.

That is the definition of troops dying in vain. 60K-plus in dead and missing.

Afghanistan? No real state. And, it isn't a real country as we understand it. It never will be. On top of that, it isn't worth the effort.

For Defence dilettantes like Fitgibbon and his kind, they have to understand that Afghanistan will roll over after the withdraw. And...all our troops, will have died in vain.

This could have been avoided in the beginning by not going there simply because of a dumb shift in U.S. strategy.

That, is the core stupidity of trying to nation-build a tribal society that has no concept of a central government. The idea was failed before it started.

Wilkie is right. Big-time. And I will take his statement further. By not exercising strong leadership and removing the ADF from Operation:USELESS DIRT as soon as she took power, Gillard does in fact have the blood of every Australian soldier lost in Afghanistan since she took power, on her hands.

The U.S. Afghanistan war started out as a pretty well run punitive expedition. Once Bush changed this into a nation-building exercise, that mission was doomed to fail. On top of that, Bush lost the plot:

“The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him.”
- G.W. Bush, 9/13/01

“I want justice…There’s an old poster out West, as I recall, that said, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive,’”
- G.W. Bush, 9/17/01, UPI

“I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.”
- G.W. Bush, 3/13/02

“I am truly not that concerned about him.”
- G.W. Bush, repsonding to a question about bin Laden’s whereabouts,
3/13/02 (The New American, 4/8/02)

I don't want to nation-build an unworkable quagmire. If the job is to fight an enemy, I want them destroyed. That can be done with minimal forces and no nation building.

And in the case of Afghanistan, the reason the U.S. went to war there, was to get Osama. He was the justification. Now he is dead. Mission complete.

The current Australian government "strategy" for Afghanistan is flawed. At least Wilke has a plan. A damn good one.

Aussie F*cking Pride

A dying news organisation ( $.42 and headed down) rehashes a poor story on risks to buying dud jamming gear.

While money is being wasted on that, the ADF has real operational needs today.

Pride. Aussie F*cking Pride.