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Does Australia need billion dollar jet fighters?


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Our duly elected leaders have listened to the experts and committed us to paying billions for underdeveloped jet-powered military aircraft. For those billions we will get a few dozen aircraft, that any belligerent country would aim to destroy in the first few days of an attack on our land. After that, an enemy force could land under the cover of its own airforce. The professional military learns from History, and the best lesson was D-Day where complete air superiority allowed the Allies to direct their attention only at land forces.

 

Shouldn't Australia review the likely type of opposition we would face in the event of an invasion, and seek ways to deal with ground forces from the air? I believe that for the billions of dollars ear-marked for the purchase of a few jet aircraft we could build up a large force of simpler aircraft for anti-invasion work. As a stop-gap measure in WWII, we were able to quickly develop a fighter plane to build our numbers. We were lucky that we quickly received more suitable aircraft to deal with the air war, but those fighters we built still played an important role in the ground war as spotters and attacking ground targets.

 

What were those fighters? The Boomerang. What was it? A medium sized aircraft fitted with a now inefficient engine, but armed with two 20mm cannon and four 303 machine guns and able to carry a small bomb load. While the airframe design could be resurrected, a modern version would need a new type engine - realistically a turbine. Modern weaponry in the form of air-to ground missiles and cannon could be fitted. By aiming for simplicity, aircraft like these could be produced for a fraction of the cost of big, fancy, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses jets. The rigged design of landing gear would better suit these small aircraft to rough, temporary air strips that could be marked out in the event of an invasion and a need to get aircraft close to the front line.

 

Such aircraft have been developed since WWII. One of these is the PA-48 Enforcer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_PA-48_Enforcer

 

 

 

 

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"Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat historic mistakes".   I hoped that the neanderthals inhabiting the powerful positions would benefit from the Vietnam war experience.

There's an old fella from W.A., with a long track record in innovative technologies - you might have heard of him - Ralph Sarich.   Besides being a pretty nice bloke (I knew him when he was

Our duly elected leaders have listened to the experts and committed us to paying billions for underdeveloped jet-powered military aircraft. For those billions we will get a few dozen aircraft, that an

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That sort of thing might be OK for fighting drug Cartels in Nicaragua. Any SAM would knock it out. Nev

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 $Billion jet fighters.

They should go for $million drones,  they should outlast any aircraft carrying 200 kllo.s of pilots ,.

spacesailor

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We have hung on to Americas coat tails without any real thought and it is costing us an immense amount of money. The F35 purchase is the worst decision ever made. A over 100 million a piece with an operating cost of over $50,000 hour and delivered 10 years late it is supposed to be able to perform multiple roles. The problem is it doesn't do any of them well and apparently pilots hate it.

 

Sukhoi SU 57s cost about 40 million each so we could have bought more than 2 of them for the same cost as 1 F35. The SU 27, 30,35,37,47 to 57 family has developed since 1977 with the 57 entering service last year and is a 5th generation stealth fighter jet superior in almost every way to the F35. We have committed to buying 72 F35s so with the same money could have bought more than 150 SU 57s with significantly lower operating costs. 

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Agree the costs are very high and they may never be used. The after sale extended service is maybe what it is all about if things go bad in a big way, Russian, Chinese or American?  I have made my choice.  

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I do think OME raises a good point here.  And it's not just the billions being thrown at the F-35 fighters.  What about the multi-billions being peed down the toilet for these ridiculous submarines?  The Collins class subs which will apparently be retired soon have been a huge money-hole too, both to buy and to operate and maintain.  My question is - has ANY submarine operated by the RAN since WW2 EVER done anything of any strategic significance?  I suspect not, and I just don't buy this line that we need them as a "deterrent".  So we will pour these billions down the same hole again, and these subs will spend their lives doing training exercises or "war games".  What a joke.  Except it isn't funny.

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Defense acquisition is never about value for money.  If Russia or China produced a 5th generation fighter that outflew and outgunned anything that a five eyes country produced,  at 1/10th of the price,  we still wouldn't get it. 

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AND !.

Russia Was our allie in the last big war,

will we be allied with our old enimies, when America starts the next big one ?.

( l can,t write what l feel about holdng hands with the dispicable old enimy ).

spacesailor

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You raise a valid point, Spacey. Japan is once again a key ally (Japanese warships protected our WWI troop ships) and Vietnam is no doubt tilting towards the US as China becomes more assertive.


Meanwhile old allies often strain the bonds.

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A swarm attack by drones would inevitably paralyse our air force. This paradigm is war gamed.

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J M

Make those drones larger and packed with explosive, Then you have a very formidable strike force plus defence against a small drone atack, as the blast from the first hit would destabilize more small drones.

spacesailor

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19 hours ago, marshallarts said:

I do think OME raises a good point here.  And it's not just the billions being thrown at the F-35 fighters.  What about the multi-billions being peed down the toilet for these ridiculous submarines?  The Collins class subs which will apparently be retired soon have been a huge money-hole too, both to buy and to operate and maintain.  My question is - has ANY submarine operated by the RAN since WW2 EVER done anything of any strategic significance?  I suspect not, and I just don't buy this line that we need them as a "deterrent".  So we will pour these billions down the same hole again, and these subs will spend their lives doing training exercises or "war games".  What a joke.  Except it isn't funny.

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/missions-secret-australian-submarines-cold-war-revealed.html

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So what was the point of gathering all this information on Soviet submarines? Handing it over to the US so they could build a bigger better one with more nuclear missiles or something like that. What will these new subs do? It is just posturing to the US to show we can do our bit. What a ridiculously expensive joke.

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An article in the latest edition of Avweb is saying the top brass of the US Airforce and Navy are no longer saying the F35 is bad, they are saying it is irrelevant https://www.avweb.com/insider/is-the-f-35-irrelevant/ . Australia still has 35 or so on order. It is time to cancel the order for the rest of this most expensive white elephant ever. The same can be said for the submarines. We could spend the money on thousands of more worthwhile things that would actually benefit our population, not suck it dry.

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All this defence spending might make us look like a modern, formidable nation, but we are not investing enough to secure our economic future, so how can we afford to pay billions for these imported toys?

 

Too many paid sit-down money while energetic foreigners have to be brought in to do the jobs our pampered unemployed won’t touch.

 

Australia is resting on our laurels while many other nations are racing past us.

 

Just one example: 

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/business-55806760

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How long have we ( US ) been playing with Drones .?

Marilin Monroe and an ex president were employed making them  ( Ronald Reagan methinks ) ?.

Surly  we could have pilotless fighter planes by now.

Like Sydney,s ' driverless Tramcar,s. ( which by any other name is till a 'tramcar' )

spacesailor

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34 minutes ago, spacesailor said:

How long have we ( US ) been playing with Drones .?

Marilin Monroe and an ex president were employed making them  ( Ronald Reagan methinks ) ?...

I severely doubt Reagan ever built anything; I believe he spent WWII making B grade war movies.

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Ronald Reagan was a U.S. Army Captain during WW2, and he was working as a publicist for the U.S. Military, when a junior officer (David Conover) assigned to Reagan, took photos of Marilyn Monroe working on a Radioplane OQ-3 drone  engine.

 

So, it appears Reagan utilised Conovers photos of attractive young American girls working in the War factories of the U.S., to boost the morale of the troops. That's about as close as Reagan ever got to making a drone.

 

Conover was the individual who encouraged MM to take up photo-modelling and the rest is history. MM's figure was deemed more desirable as a "pin-up" in photos, rather than as a photo model - where a different body shape to MM's was required.

 

https://silodrome.com/radioplane-oq-3-engine/

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I think China's military has more people in it than the entire population of Australia. Just learn 'Don't Shoot' in Chinese and hope for the best.

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On 08/04/2021 at 10:48 AM, spacesailor said:

How long have we ( US ) been playing with Drones .?

Marilin Monroe and an ex president were employed making them  ( Ronald Reagan methinks ) ?.

Surly  we could have pilotless fighter planes by now.

Like Sydney,s ' driverless Tramcar,s. ( which by any other name is till a 'tramcar' )

spacesailor

Lookup 'loyal wingman'...

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Look, there's a documentary about what happens when you give military hardware too much autonomy - it's called "The Terminator".

(Ok, so it's not a documentary, but bloody good series of movies!  One of the rare ones where the sequel is much better than the first.)

 

The decision to deliberately take a human life - and the responsibility for doing so - must always rest with a human. 

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I've been involved (in a small way) with artificial intelligence, neural networks and deep learning. All fancy terms for stuff that is still years away when it comes to terminator style weapons. Even driverless busses are a waste of time. Standard bus with driver is both cheaper to run and safer. Will be for years.

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Here's an idea that might be worth following up.

 

We have been talking about engines that develop their power from burning petroleum distillates. Why not have a look at the possibility of replacing those types with electric motors in propeller-driven aircraft?  Obviously, the the research has to go into battery technology, but that is a field that is currently (no pun) producing great leaps forward in electrical power storage.

 

An electric motor isn't affected by air density as the fuel burner is. Therefore you don't need all the ancillary add-ons like carby, exhaust, spark generation system and cooling(?). You could trade those weights for a bigger motor. You could look at using ducted fans instead of the usual propeller. Battery packs might be more resistant to gunfire damage.

 

Let's say that a big aero engine burns 80 gallons of fuel per hour. That means that the logistics of getting fuel from refineries to airfields in distant places have to be overcome. With electric powered aircraft, you only need a electricity generator mounted on a semi-trailer and a companion fuel tanker for the generator. How long would a generator run on 30,000 litres of diesel fuel?

 

If the aircraft were for defensive use, then range would not be such a problem. The Hurricanes and Spitfires of the Battle of Britain only had a range of about 200 nautical miles. That's plenty to defend against an invading force attacking a coast.

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