Shooting down lies from the sky

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Robert,keep nagging, the Dreamliner has now joined the JSF in the Pantheon of vastly expensive failures.Australia might be better served by fleets of drones, as outlined in articles recently in The Atlantic or buying Russian or Chinese.Sensible but anathema to Russell Hill. (Shooting down lies from the sky, February 15)
Nicely done Robert. I would add a further potential issue for Australian defence planners to factor into their equations (Shooting down lies from the sky, February 15). The US Navy has just this week cancelled at the eleventh hour the deployment of one of their carrier battle groups to the middle east due to cost pressures. They usually keep 2 in that theatre. They have also signalled the postponement of a complex nuclear overhaul for several carriers and the stopping of work on one carrier that is within 4 months of completion of this work. A complex nuclear overhaul takes 3 plus years to complete. The backlog of basic maintenance within the US navy runs into the many billions of dollars. I wonder how long if budget cuts continue that the C model F-35 will last within the US Navy procurement budget. Hmm thats a death spiral your hearing or maybe a gurgling down the sink. As far as the F-22 is concerned I really don't think the US has the financial ability to start that line again. Australia will be looking at more Super Hornets me thinks.
Every major weapons system that breaks new ground has a similar history. The F-111 was an apparent disaster of a project that finally delivered. Most are the same from air defence cruisers to submarines (Shooting down lies from the sky, February 15).
The irony of Kopp and Goon is that they would have cancelled the F-111 in its day yet were its most ardent proponents for its retention when it had finally become obsolete. The era of stand off weapons from cruise missiles to drones had arrived yet these two characters still believed there was a role for low level penetration with terrain following radar.
Trouble is the poms lost too many aircraft this way in Iraq MkI. No-one does it anymore and there's a good reason: you die.
The real issue is not the F-35. It will be the last manned fighter developed in the West. The issue is what mix of F-35s will coexist with new semi autonomous strike drones. The US navy is doing landing trials on their carriers and will ultimately deploy smaller carriers with smaller, vertically stored and possibly launched drones. In strike packages, the manned aircraft will do air superiority and the unmanned air defence suppression and ground strike will fall to drones.
The superiority of US systems is not just yank n bank out maneuvering plane on plane like Robert's Brewster Buffalo vs a Jap zero, but data integration and targeting from hundreds of sources, longer range weapons systems, jamming resistant systems. In other words, if you see them first and have the better reach, they are dead. It's also a question of training, support, maintenance and system up time.
Give me a real example where in the last 40 years ANY non US weapons system has outmatched a US designed one in open conflict? Much vaunted Soviet tanks in Iraq were simply decimated. Entire Iraqi divisions were obliterated by US Abrams tanks. And yes, they were a big cost overrun too.
@Peter Driscoll - (Shooting down lies from the sky, February 15.)
Very nicely put, Peter, and you raise some of the very valid concerns in relation to how our American friends are dealing with what their President Obama referred to in his State of the Union address, when he said -
"The greatest nation on Earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next."
As for the F-22, this is the capability which the Sukhoi Su-35S, T-50 PAK-FA and the Chengdu J-20, along with the latest Russian and Chinese A2/AD systems, have been designed to go up against and defeat.
That being the case, what would you say to the long standing Air Power Australia proposal in this regard?
That is, instead of buying more Super Hornets (that are already overmatched in the Region), Australia invest those funds in helping our American cousins to re-open the F-22A production line and, at the same time, use all that great wherewithall that has been brought together to build the wrong aircraft (the JSF) to now build the right aircraft - the F-22A.
Then evolve the Raptor design to the F-22E and FB-22A while providing a less "technology sensitive" version of the F-22 for those partner nations willing to remain with the program?
Now don't you think that is a solution worthy of the great Australian heritage based tradition of "thinking outside the box" a.k.a. lateral thinking?
BTW - It also happend to be in keeping with such things as the Aus/US Free Trade Agreement and, not surprisingly, the ANZUS Alliance, particularly Articles II and III.
So, what do you think?
Well said Robert (Shooting down lies from the sky, February 15). Far too much of what is decided is about placement of jobs in Australia and not enough about cost and safety.. Too often its about politicians and spin and not enough about the lives of our defense personal. The Collins submarines are a classic example.There are safer options at a third of the price. Use the savings to better train,arm and give retirement benefits to our forces.
Too many fighter jocks and not enough tacticians at Russell (Shooting down lies from the sky, February 15). Only practical solution would seem to be a fleet of armed drones instead of the limited number of unarmed ones we currently have.
Dennis Jensen really needs to continue to push this issue hard at every opportunity (Shooting down lies from the sky, February 15).
It is a tragedy in the making.
I hate anything to do with war, suggestion of war, war machinery, etc. Unfortunately it is a necessary evil.
I prefer debating it as if it was a defensive role; not offensive. Unfortunately sometimes one may have to go on the offensive! (Shooting down lies from the sky, February 14.)
Yes Robert this has been on your agenda a lot. The best jocks (fighter pilots) are those who fly by the seat of their pants. They have skill and judgement that those who fly by the book, or instruments, or weapons systems do not have.
They are sometimes also the rebels. They are the guys that you get into a room to debate it out; even give em some boxing gloves (they are the guys who do barrel rolls just behind the perimeter fence and have been dobbed in a few times; yes it is on their record. But I guarantee you they are the best!)
Tease it out, debate it out, the best planes, the best weapons systems, the lowest operating expenses/costs. The best value for money. What they are to be used for i.e. their role.
Better than any committee. Better than any politician. And probably best for the tax payer.
The French have good planes, the Scandinavians and the Brits do. If the US cannot provide value for money, then even talk to the Ruskies or the Chinese! Well the line ought to be drawn somewhere!
And even the "used market". But please Australia. At open market price!
The cost overrun and capability downgrade of the F35 are obvious, but assuming that this will render the plane inferior to Russian and Chinese ones is a stretch (Shooting down lies from the sky, February, February 15).
Commentators, RObert included, seem to take at face value what the Chinese and Russians claim about the performance of their planes.
The Chinese are still struggling to make high-performance jet engines. They will crack that, but my guess is that they will follow the Soviet/Russian path of producing gear that has flashes of brilliance it an overall mediocre package.
Take the MiG29: brilliant airframe, powerful engine, but hardly in the air because of high service needs. Even when these fly, they are still handicapped by poor systems integration. These problems remain in Russia due to cultural reasons (top-down mentality, no incentives for intiatitve and innovation unless tasked), and the same culture prevails in China even more.
I beg you Robert; please do not let up on the nagging, it is way too important to let it rest.
Thank you for your continued efforts (Shooting down lies from the sky, February 15).
It is nice to see the media finally coming out and supporting Dennis Jensen's position, he has been speaking against the purchase of these planes since well before 2007. In the party room and the parliament (Shooting down lies from the sky, February 15).
Keep digging and stirring. It is too important to let go (Shooting down lies from the sky, February 15). The politicians will do everything possible to obfuscate and close down criticism but we must avoid a multi-zillion dollar defence oriented pink batts fiasco. Life is unpredictable. This could be more important than all your many years of business commentary.
I kind of like airpower australia.They have interesting articles and analysis. (Shooting down lies from the sky, February 15)
However they do make some obvious mistakes.Don't take everything they asy as gospel.
They seem to always assume that russian technology is equal to the usa's,and their default position seems to be- believe everything the enemy claims,while rejecting everything our allies say.It's not the healthiest of approaches.
Besides,their one and only 'solution to everything' is to pressure the usa into selling us f22's ..as if that's an easy thing(or even possible???)
Raptor is the best solution, an evolved F-15 the next best solution - marginally. Everything else would put our pilots in harm’s way, no matter how good they are (Shooting down lies from the sky, February 15).
Drones are great as force multipliers and are proven for close air support, Air defence denial and other dangerous small scale strikes but there is no current substitute for real air superiority and heavy hitting strikes by a specialist planes. The Chinese/Russian planes can out fly everything else including 'super' Hornets and in most scenarios the F-35.
I wouldn’t rely on training and maintenance as our edge over potential threats.
Hello Peter Goon (Shooting down lies from the skies, February 15).
I salute the work your good self and Mr Kopp have been doing over the years. With backup from Robert Gottleibsen many of the concerns and issues with the JSF and now F-35 programme have been accurately predicted by yourself. As for the F-22 it to has had many issue not least of which has been the oxygen supply issue to the pilots which most likely lead to the loss of a F-22 and its pilot in Alaska several years ago. The problems, issues, high cost and now sacrifice has a pay off however, absolute air supremacy where and when the US decides. When President Obama decided to close the F-22 line he did so for political and cost issues. I respectfully believe he made a mistake and sent a very powerful message to potential adversaries around the world that the US could be challenged again in the air. It is however a challenge only a very few countries can take on due to the required cost, technical ability and political will required to sustain the effort. I hear and appreciate the concerns that many technical experts in the west have with the capabilities of the new Russian and Chinese equipment. The point is they are in the game. My last point about Super Hornets is purely political Peter. Considering the financial position of the Australian government I think the RAAF should consider itself very lucky if the F-18 classic force was replaced one for one with Super's. Could the federal government do a NZ and cut a squadron of F-18's to cut costs, well thats possible but not in a election year. Will the US restart the F-22 line, thats possible (they have retained the tooling) but politically and financially hard to see. I don't think its a coincidence that F-22 routinely deploy to Guam and Okinawa. Maybe US politicians are realising that when your potential adversaries aren't living in caves but have a air force you need the best.