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Can't turn, Can't climb, Can't run: F35 problems

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Our lack of fuel reserves and refineries might be our undoing. It's all very well to sign free trade deals, but we have lost most of our basic strategic industries.

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yes, once the fuel runs out people in the suburbs won't be very productive and easy to feed. All a foreign nation has to do is declare a war zone around australia and threaten any oil tanker entering it. No insurance company will cover a oil tanker if it gets attacked.

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Insurance companies never cover acts of war on any policy but you already knew that didn't you

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In committing to the F-35 will we end up with the contemporary equivalent of the Brewster Buffalo, in which too many RAAF pilots never got the chance to grow old bones?

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That's right Mathew, you can send Australian economy back to the horse and buggy without firing a single shot. Without a single fighter taking off.

 

It really is pause for thought about what defense actually does and how it should be deployed

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Always interesting to read these hypothetical scenarios. Some are a bit tongue in cheek, but nearly always make a lot of good points. I guess we are sometimes tempted to think of potential conflicts with an outdated WW2 type of mentality, but the reality would be a lot more different nowdays.

 

Interesting reading the Rand Corporation assessment on a hypothetical Russian take over of the Baltics. They came up with the figure of 30-60 hours for the Russians to defeat NATO and gain complete control over Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The Pentagon did about 15 or 16 simulations, all with factors in NATO's favour, and came up with a NATO defeat every time. It might not work that way in reality, but it's good for business if Congress will agree to more defence spending.

 

With our defence situation here, it makes you wonder which areas are the higher priority for funding.

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So let me get this right so we are all on the same page. Australia has coal bauxite, copper, wheat, sheep, beef, LNG, assault rifles, bullets and uranium which the rest of the world wants and can't get unless the Australians have imported transportation fuel to give it to them. Also Australia exports education, financial services and technology like Wi-Max and agricultural patents.

 

Australia can't make its own boots, fan belts, cars, clothes or other things that go into the Great War Machine.

 

Someone comes along and says "no imported oil for you".

 

How long do you think it would take the people the coal, copper and iron ore to get really grumpy and make the oil flow again?

 

A serious answer please or go back and actually read statements from ASPI, the Lowy Institute, even Crikey dot com dot au. Argue with them, disagree with them. Not me I don't care.

 

The F-35 is just one one asset in a multi-level, multi decade force posture review involving space and cyber warfare, diplomacy and future capabilities as yet un-imagined.

 

I will continue this thought in my next post. I think something glaringly obvious in this thread got missed

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So let me get this right so we are all on the same page. Australia has coal bauxite, copper, wheat, sheep, beef, LNG, assault rifles, bullets and uranium which the rest of the world wants and can't get unless the Australians have imported transportation fuel to give it to them. Also Australia exports education, financial services and technology like Wi-Max and agricultural patents.

 

Australia can't make its own boots, fan belts, cars, clothes or other things that go into the Great War Machine.

 

Someone comes along and says "no imported oil for you".

 

How long do you think it would take the people the coal, copper and iron ore to get really grumpy and make the oil flow again?

 

Unless it is one of the Countries that want our stuff who decide to block the oil and then just take what they want.

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Without oil, nobody will get anything. Also people forget that the coal and sheep aren't in the main street of a coastal town. Invade away, I say. Then lets see how many people actually want to farm and mine for their new captors

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Going back to post #120, the F-35 is only one tool of network-centric warfare. It would be apt to describe the F-35 as a flying laptop because it does nothing particularly well but a lot of things OK. Network-centric warfare has only been around since 1996 and E-M theory since 1964. It took a further 20 years to understand the implications and application of E-M theory. Network-centric warfare is in its infancy. It may be argued that the Americans are still maturing their doctrine (how to fight the asset effectively) for the F-22. Some of the developments made for the F-35 have made their way back into the F-22 as improvements.

 

The F-35 may be considered as a flying sensor fusion display unit that contributes its own view with the benefit of some altitude, some speed and some stealth. One key component is JHMCS also used in the F/A-18. Some of the features on the F-22 are also available for the F-35 and Australia won't be able to learn how to use, maintain or inter-operate with the F-22 features (and NATO forces) unless they train in the F-35. This will be the case whether the F-35 sees combat in the hands of RAAF pilots or not, whether it is an effective war fighter, or not. LRIP or not. Training aircraft only, or not.

 

The F-35 will never fly alone - in that sense it will be deployed in collections about the same size as whatever one tanker can service. So about five F-35s per tanker. Because of this there will also be an AWACs which has already been discussed in earlier posts. Add to this the space born, ground and human intelligence plus drones (including autonomous satellite linked ground sensors chucked by the SAS out of a Hercules the night before) and it rapidly becomes less of an argument about "can't turn, can't climb" and more about "whoever has the most toys wins". Learning that environment and being successful in it requires practise. Flying the F-35 against a F-16 in a limited air-air scenario and losing dismally is all part of that process. The lesson is "don't be that guy". They are still finding out what the flying laptop is best at. Clearly its not turning or climbing. Yawn.

 

It took 15 years for the RAAF to figure out what the F-111 meant to regional stability and why, although (it may be argued) the Indonesians cottoned-on to its argument ending abilities much sooner. The F/A-18 was brought in to replace the F-111 in 2007 and only did so operationally in 2010. Err, that was 6 years ago...

 

I propose what we the Australian tax-payer have here is an opportunity to learn what 21st century battlefields hold in store for us and what it means to from an Australian point of view. From there Australia can get back to building its own skills and experience, electronic surveillance/counter surveillance and warfare assets. Alternatively Australia can decide its not worth the cost and keep buying someone else's. This is the price of not keeping up with the rest of the world in these areas. We now need to pay A LOT MORE to catch up. Here are some questions:

 

Will the Russians teach the RAAF how to fly, fix and fight an SU-35 or will they just hand the keys over, saying "GLHFWTS" as they laugh all the way back home and shut down the assembly line?

Will Saab and Volvo (yes Volvo make the engine) share their upgrades or will they starve the RAAF of parts like what happened with another Australian purchase?

Will the RAAF be able to milk the F/A-18 (still in production) long enough to be able to bring a 5th generation fighter that isn't the F-35 up to IOC?

Will the RAAF be able to recruit new pilots at all if they canned the F-35 purchase today and only bought drones?

 

These same sorts questions await the Army now they have decided to walk away from the ARH some time in the near future. It could be argued no ARH would have guaranteed no new Army pilots for a generation. Doing nothing didn't appear to be a selectable option.

 

Anyone who says this is a simple discussion is clearly poorly informed. But, good on you for having a crack at it. For myself, I will be at an F-35 briefing very soon learning from actual pilots what its strengths and weaknesses are. Not from this forum.

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As I see it, the obvious thing in this thread is that it is all very interesting to discuss the situation and speculate, but the reality is, that the more intertwined countries are with their trade relationships, the less likely the chance of any major conflict.

 

I can't imagine too many people or countries seriously believe there will ever again be a major conflict with our regional neighbours. It's all about deterrant, which also boosts industry, corporate profits and jobs.

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For myself, I will be at an F-35 briefing very soon learning from actual pilots what its strengths and weaknesses are. Not from this forum.

 

Well, I'd be very interested to hear what those pilots say about it. According to a recent interview on RN, former RAAF Wing Commander Chris Mills said the US pilots have nicknamed it "the Little Turd". http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/australia-needs-to-show-spine-over-joint-strike-fighter-expert/7218478

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Well, mnewbery, thank you for complimenting all the thread contributers for having a crack at it. And also, enjoy the briefing, and I hope you learn much from it. People have contributed to this thread for their own personal interest and in the interests of general discussion, rather than trying to educate any one forum member. No-one needs to come here to learn anything, that's obvious. Some people just enjoy lively and thoughtful discussion. Hopefully, you'll find a bit of that at the briefing.

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Re: Oil/Fuel production - we do actually produce our own - mainly from the Bass Strait oil and gas fields, but its not much, and decreasing.

http://www.aspo-australia.org.au/introduction/oil-production-decline.html

 

As is our capacity to refine that crude oil into fuels...

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/global-supply-crucial-as-local-product-lost/story-e6frg9df-1226436191805

175516-120727-n-oil-refineries-australian.jpg

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One interesting point that came from the briefing:

 

When two 5th generation combatants enter visual range the most likely outcome is that both will launch multiple missiles and both will be destroyed and that this will consistently happen very early in the engagement.

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One interesting point that came from the briefing:

 

When two 5th generation combatants enter visual range the most likely outcome is that both will launch multiple missiles and both will be destroyed and that this will consistently happen very early in the engagement.

 

This is what I don't understand about this aircraft (the laptop as you describe it) and its mission roles.

 

It seems to my (admittedly non-expert) mind that the F-35 is an aircraft of too many compromises, especially using the same airframe for different engine configurations, ie VTOL and standard. Then coupling that with stealth technology which brings another layer of complexity. What's wrong with using a proven airframe, such as the F/A-18 or F-15 (if you don't want to use the better Russian aircraft), upgrading the avionics and spending the money on more aircraft, more crew, more maintenance and better missiles? Sure you don't have the stealth component but let's face it, it's only a matter of time before that technology will be countered somehow.

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The fourth generation fighters generally don't have vectored-in-forward-flight thrust as standard.

The fifth generation aircraft (almost all of them) have everything that the F/A-18 E/F and F-15 can hang off the outside (LANTIRN and missile launch detectors for example) built into them from the factory and not hung off the outside. The 5th generation aircraft (again almost all of them) are built with upgrades to pretty much everything ... but especially the radars and engine(s) in mind ... at the factory. On the inside of the airframe, with room for even more sensors an antennae.

 

The F-35 can fly without refuelling or extra tanks between Williamstown and Tindal while carrying a mission payload. The F/A-18 can't for two reasons - it has smaller tanks and an extra engine. The 5th generation aircraft have better cruise drag generally as a direct result of not hanging stuff off the outside.

 

Ironically, buy the 4th generation aircraft plus all the knick knacks that would give it the same all weather capability as something more contemporary and the price rapidly approaches the cost of the F-35 ... unless you don't buy knick knacks for every airframe. If you did that, then there would be compromises in-theatre and it would still be fourth generation knick knacks.

 

Nobody has yet mentioned the high bandwidth Link 22 (Talon HATE for the F-15) that allows a formation of fighters to share sensor and operational data. The 4th generation fighters will have to decide what to leave behind in order to hang yet another knick knack off the outside in order to use this.

 

The F-15 (circa 1976) and F/A-18 (circa 1999) are still being built and the last F-22 entered service in 2011. Having seen the cockpit of the F-35 compared to the F-15, the F-15 would do well for an all glass cockpit but that would be a mammoth task as the Koreans found out:

 

In 2016 approximate unit prices $USD:

F-22 Raptor $150M each (no longer available)

F/A-18 without any knick knacks $60M

E/A-18G without any knick knacks $70M

F-15 SE stealth model $100M

F-15 E with no upgrades $31M

F-15 E with upgrades to what South Korea have $100M, still no dangly knick knacks

 

F-35A any colour as long as its grey $98M+ whatever happens next.

 

Note that the F-22 and the F-35 share engine parts (the hot section in particular for the F135 and the F119) so they have a good idea how the engines will go. The F-35 has just ticked over 52,000 hours from the start of testing until March 2016. One engine failure was recorded in 2013 whish resulted in a hollow blisk exploding at takeoff causing a fire. The new design replaced the blisk with a solid one and some fingers got pointed at the titanium supplier. Engine upgrades are already being tested by the manufacturer (Pratt) in the expectation of 7% more continuous thrust and a much lower maintenance cost.

 

Meanwhile back in F/A-18 land...

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The problem is that the built-in knicknacks were frozen for production, and won't be upgraded for a long time at current porjections. The F-35 sensors are equivalent to the Isreali Litening II pod, whereas the currently deployed model of Litening is now IV.

 

One example of this is the design parameters were frozen before it was expected to be sharing info from airplanes to ground squads, so while the new pods and knicknacks can take data and relay direct to ground units, the F-35 needs a C3 communications bird in the air to recieve the datastream, and retransmit to ground units.

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So you are saying the F-35 doesn't have Satcom and its SINCGARS radios won't work line of sight at FL400?

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So you are saying the F-35 doesn't have Satcom and its SINCGARS radios won't work line of sight at FL400?

 

No, I'm saying their network systems are obsolete already due to being frozen at a stage when only Hub-And-Spoke style comms links was expected to be used, while new networks are neural network type connections.

 

New systems currently allow any unit to obtain any streamed data from any other unit. So a F16 with either the US SNIPER ER pod or the Isreali LIETENING IV pod can downlink data direct to units on the ground to allow them to maneuver tactically to engage enemy forces located using that data, while the older built in units the F35 has have to relay the data to a central comms clearing unit like an E3 or RIVET JOINT which would then forward on the datastream to the ground units.

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The F-35 has Sniper XR modules (same functions as LITENING) built into it. Are you sure this targeting data can't be directly shared with ground troops and must go through a C&C asset? Or is it possible that a VMF220D message with targeting information on one of the 10 simultaneous radio transceivers might actually get to the ground or a ship directly?

 

The reason why I ask is that the Northrop Grumman communication, navigation and identification system is one of the more well documented features. One of the features is that everything is done with software defined radios. Another feature is that there are more than enough antennae for 360x360 degree coverage plus more CNI features than the 27 already available in the LRIP versions that Australia is getting.

 

Of note, the MADL (aka Link 22 or TADIL) is Ku band line of sight and near impossible to intercept.

 

The F-22 missed out on MADL and AN/AAQ-28(V) LITENING IV. It definitely can't inter-operate with other forces that don't have the same radios as the F-22 and can't provide ground targeting information because its job was to find and intercept things in the air.

 

So are you sure the F-35 can't communicate targeting information (or video or still images) directly with ground and ship assets or did you get it mixed up with the F-22?

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Norwegian pilot counters leaked F-35 dogfight report 1st March 2016

 

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/norwegian-pilot-counters-leaked-f-35-dogfight-report-422552/

 

“The final ‘textbook’ for how to best employ the F-35 in visual combat – basic fighter maneouvres – has not been written yet,” Hanche says. “It is literally being written by my neighbour down here in Arizona!"

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I would have to go find the article again to confirm, But I am pretty sure it was the F35. I'm sure it said the F35 built-in system is equal to the Litening II system, which allowed the data generated by the pod to be used organicly by the host aircraft, or linked to a C3 asset, but not linked to another secondary network node like ground troops. That functionality came in on the Litening III, with the current state of the art being now the Litening IV.

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