Thursday, April 19, 2012

Some don't understand strategic strike

From The Australian today:

Since the demise of the F111 we have lacked strategic strike. Among many other functions, the new subs would remedy that by being equipped with land attack cruise missiles. They would have a range and capability far beyond the ageing and almost completely useless Collins class boats they would replace.

Subs with cruise missile capability are not a "remedy" for the F-111 strike capability (given away by Defence on a lie).

The F-111 could reach out with stand-off weapons and hit a target within hours; not days. Fly home. Rinse and repeat.

Subs with cruise missiles are unable to do such a thing. Ever. While the capability may be useful, it isn't a "remedy" for long-range strike capability delivered by aircraft.


Leper said...

Given the woeful availabilities of the Collins submarines, it would likely be faster to re-acquire some F-111s from the US's boneyard, get them flightworthy, retrain aircrew and launch an attack, than wait for a Collins to be available and get into position for such a strike.

Bonza said...

Some don't understand strategic strike?

Some don't understand submarine warfare and the idea of persistence I'd guess.

The subs won't be sent from Australia to conduct a strike mission and then return home as you seem to be envisaging Eric. They'll be prepositioned in the likely area of operations.

With a weapon like the Tactical Tomahawk Block IV, the area of possible operations is extremely large.

The Collins Class won't be fitted with this strategic strike missile system. The next generation submarine will, as will the AWD.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the closest equivalent capacity in the near-term to F-111 class strategic strike capability would be found in a late-mod F-15E type armed with 3x JASSM-ER, or other strike oriented munitions.

A new pylon could be devised to fit under the CFTs to hold the JASSM (1 per CFT), with the other pylons being removed for reduced drag and weight. A pylon behind the JASSM stations could be left for a MALD/J.

A 3rd JASSM could be carried on the centerline sta 5.

The unrefueled combat radius, equipped with wing EFT, would probably be around 800nm. This would give an unrefueled strike range of > 1200nm.

In an air defense role, the said modern F-15E class would of course be properly armed, fitted and equipped with large aperture dedicated IRST and next-gen Sniper pod.

The only possible missing element to enable this strategic strike capacity though would be for a new CFT pylon to carry the JASSM class munition.

Eric Palmer said...

Persistence to launch a small handful of weapons. I don't have a problem with subs with land-attack cruise-missiles.
The stupidity that someone would think such a platform is a "remedy" for the F-111 being retired for no valid reason is the problem.

Bonza said...

A handful of standoff weapons?

How many actual "standoff weapons" do you think RAAF has in it's armouries?

The purchase of 64x Harpoon Block II missiles in 2001, our last major purchase of anti-ship missiles should give a hint as to the size of weapons inventories we are funded to maintain.

The idea that we had large stocks of SOW's for the F-111 to smite our enemies is just fantasy.

There's a reason the entire ADF launches about 20-25 guided weapons per year in total...

As to persistence, ADF maintains stocks for about a week's worth of guided munitions at a medium intensity war usage rate.

Doesn't matter what platform is supposed to launch it when you don't have any...

A submarine however has far more use than simply launching strike weapons, something that is not well understood mostly.

Eric Palmer said...

Stacking poor decisions by Defence as a justification for a position. Interesting.

Anonymous said...

I'd agree with Bonza here that A) subs have more use than simply launching SOWs and B) that even with F-111 in service today, ADF would require substantial more investment in air-launched SOWs in order to employ a credible strategic strike deterrence and capability.

Distiller said...

You don't need a F-111 (or any other fastmover) for shooting cruise missiles. Take a cargo plane, throw them out of the back.

And putting conventionally warheaded land attack cruise missiles on a sub is a boat in search of a mission/justification, resulting in nothing more than the capability for terror attacks. Strategic it ain't.

Anonymous said...

ADF short of guided munitions?

ASPI (see Erics realier post) estimates 12 new subs could cost up to $36 billion. At about say $1M per missile, you can get 36,000 cruise missiles for that kind of money.

Change the mix, even buy $20B of the latest next gen stealth bomber, or whatever, you'll still have enough money left over for 16,000 LAMs.

Go figure


Perplexed said...

Have to agree with Bonza.
It would appear that most do not understand what a submarine is used for

Bonza said...

Not justifying anything Eric, but the fact remains that F-111 never provided a true strategic strike capability. It provided tactical strike capability.

A truly independant strategic strike capability takes a strategic targetting capability, which we also don't have and didn't have when we flew F-111.

Global Hawk or whichever HALE UAV we end up buying will help, but we need satellite targetting capability to field a true strategic strike capability, unless our "strategic" strike, consists of an ability at X amount of range to hit a target identified for us by an ally.

Anonymous said...

To Bonza

Isn't the 'term' Strategic Strike (in US term at least) merely designating a capability to strike at known strategic targets of an opposing side? Strategic targets such as critical infrastructure and military HQ installations, which are usually known sites with fixed coordinates?

It could be implied as a tactical mission but I think the conventional term for the mission capability is indeed strategic strike.

Subs can of course also enable this similar deterrence and strike capability via conventional warhead cm's eg, but they are only one platform of a mix which deploy an effective deterrence and actual capability.

Note also that for some countries, Tactical ballistic missiles are critical part of their mix to enable such capability as well, but this is usually not the doctrine of primarily western military forces which rely more on aviation based 'strategic' strike capability.

Eric Palmer said...

Some years ago, F-111s spooled up to be ready to hit Indonesia during a crisis.

That... is "strategic".

Bonza said...

F-111's were deployed to RAAF Darwin Eric in the lead up to Interfet in 1999 in case things went pear-shaped. So did F/A-18A/B Hornets.

Is that "strategic"?

Perplexed said...

And seriously,imagine if they had air to air refueling as they should have had.They could have ranged over large parts of Asia.
Submarines have a different purpose.
As an aside,I believe under orders of AG Gareth Evans they once flew from Qld to Tasmania and back on a recon mission. Truly stategic.

And Bonza, one had the range had weapons outload, the other did not.

Bonza said...

Anon, striking a particular target is a tactical effect, whether it be a SAM site or a fuel depot, or a miltary HQ.

It can have a strategic effect, but doesn't necessarily. A strategic strike in my mind is something that significantly impacts the other sides overall effort.

A good example of a strategic strike in GW1 was performed by the Apache Hellfire missile attack on the Iraqi IADS in the first actual kinetic Coalition mission of the war.

That strike opened up a corridor that the whole air armada was able to exploit and rapidly reduceIraq's capability.

That strike had a strategic effect, so when someone argues that a sub with Tomahawk missiles can't perform strategic strike when we've seen helicopters do it in the past well, that seems just a tad naive...

Eric Palmer said...

And, had F-111s hit Indonesian targets as a message, that would be a strategic effect. As for having Hornets (the shortest range jet in its class) in the land of tyranny of distance, well, for any "strategic" effect, they suck down a lot of gas; often. Great if you have a 3 or 4 to one tanker ratio.

Anonymous said...

Re: F-111s ready to hit Indonesia...

Family member was closely involved in East Timor after 'hand over' and has long term links with ADF tells the tale as such:

Just as the silliness was kicking off with the Indonesian backed militias and so on, a few very senior ADF brass made a couple of phone calls.

You can just imagine the conversation when someone from RAN calls his 'mate' in Indonesia: "Hi Admiral XXXX, how's it going? Haven't seen you since that staff college thing." "Me? Well, it's been busy here." "What doing? We've got all the available Collins subs deployed - something big and hush-hush"

Then the RAAF man calls: "General, how are you?" "Busy? It's busy here too. Amberley is a hive of activity." "Exercise? No, aparently it's all live war shots and flight plans to Darwin. Not sure what for though".

If you lot play silly buggers, then your navy gets sunk in harbour and your airforce is destroyed on the ground.

Not a peep out of the Indonesian AF or Navy. At least they are professionals - the kit is too expensive to play the games the Indonesian army was up to.

Bonza said...


They flew an F-111 there but it didn't do anything, so they flew a Mirage there afterwards (how many refuellers did we have in 1983?) and it ACTUALLY performed the photo recon mission.

Truly strategic indeed...

Anonymous said...

For Bonza,

Strictly talking 'Strategic strike' in a classical sense is a terminology used in USAF. Not sure about RAAF, but I'm guessing the implication in this thread was akin to the classical definition.

Whether it has tactical or strategic effects is not the issue, and as you say yourself, they can overlap and not necessarily be strategic, etc.

But what you mention as HQ and depot, critical infrastructure as examples, are contained within the classical definition of a strategic strike mission. Period. Non-negotiable :) Look it up. :)

and p.s., yes hornets can perform such a role as well, if properly armed, however the greater the increased capacity to strike more key strategic targets with maximal survivability, across a broader geographical area would give a relative superiority to the platform which can successfully complete such extended and broad target striking!

Bonza said...

A PC-9 hitting a target would have been a strategic message in Interfet! We used no air support in that operation whatsoever beyond snipers in Blackhawks operating as light fire teams and they weren't used for anything beyond overwatch missions! Talk about grasping at straws...

Of course Eric, given you can fly to Timor in a Blackhawk without refuelling (it's how 5 Aviation Regiment's Blackhawks got there and back) clearly a Hornet strike package would not have had any problem going there either.

Btw, in 1999 we had four operational tankers that could refuel Hornets. Neither the Hornet or F-111 had a standoff weapon at that time, so either asset would have been employed dropping Paveway II and III's, the only guided air to surface munition RAAF had in 1999 besides Harpoon (AGM-84 Block 1C's which of course didn't have a land attack capability).

Bonza said...

Funny you mention that anon, because that is exactly RAAF's point. It says Super Hornet and JSF are far more survivable in a broad geographical area against a broad range of modern threats than the F-111 was at the end of it's career, but no-one will take their word for it!

Afterall, given all those Bersama Lima type exercises, what would they know about the relative capabilities in our region?

Hell our Navy has even exercised with China multiple times and they are still accused of misunderstanding China's capability!

Still Perplexed said...

Bonza said:
"They flew an F-111 there but it didn't do anything, so they flew a Mirage there afterwards (how many refuellers did we have in 1983?) and it ACTUALLY performed the photo recon mission. "
The cameras did not work that day?

And , what range does a mirage have, totally strategic.
From Avalon, across the gap between Victoria and Tasmania,take a photo,to refuel in Launceston, and makes it back to Avalon,just, to hand over the Box Brownie.

Perplexed said...

Bonza continues"
"It says Super Hornet and JSF are far more survivable in a broad geographical area against a broad range of modern threats than the F-111 was at the end of it's career, but no-one will take their word for it! "
Going on the number of untruthful statements made to the Joint Sittings,over the years, I would think that you are into the wind dear.
You once again demonstrate your lack of intlectual capablity.

Bonza said...

Yep and RAAF chose the Mirage to do it. Yes they sent an F-111 back at higher altitude the following day. the point stands the "fighter" was capable of undertaking the mission.

Untrue statements, right...

Still, we're getting away from the strategic strike capability, which is going to comprise the already mentioned submarines (at least 6 vessels and probably more like 8-9 in the end), long ranged land attack missiles from AWD's (3 vessels) and the future frigate (up to 9 vessels), up to 6x KC-30A refuellers, JASSM from 71x Hornets, JSOW C/C1 from 24x Super Hornets and JSOW and JASSM eventually from at least 72x F-35.

Does anyone wish to continue to argue that this capability will not outmatch the 17x F-111C's we had with AGM-142 Havenap in range, simultaneous deployability as well as lethality?

Eric Palmer said...

JSFs? That is feeble minded fantasy. Hornets die of old age around 2020 depending on each airframe. You see, now that it was never the F-111 that had airframe life issues. It could have been taken to 2020 if not further. The sub fantasy depends on the DMO and others. Good luck with that. JASSM on classic Hornet and Super (4deg outward SUU-79 plyons) is a lot of drag. Again, not very many tankers for all that. Defence really displayed their ignorance for not qualifying the F-111 with J-series weapons (not hard to do) and SDB. If the threat really is big, well, the Hornets and fantasy F-35 are not good enough. You are then in the F-22 area of work. Which now means, help from the USAF. Something the Chinese communist appeasement crowd in the current government does not understand.

Perplexed said...

Bonza , five maybe six non-operational tankers.
How useful would that be?
You live in a strange fantasy world.
Also the dishonest argument that the F111 was stuck with obsolete avionics and not being upgradeable, is just that dishonest.
As you probably realise(Considering your fetish with APA) studies have provided relevant upgrade paths.
Typically your ilk ignores the ideas or denigrates without any real debate.
You also are able to believe that only the F18 is capable of carrying stand off weapons.

Anonymous said...


I would have even taken it up a couple notches with the F-111 upgrade, as Bonza is correct by suggesting one should not compare a 1999 paveway II armed F-111 with a 2015 upgraded F-111.

But I would have proposed a cranked delta wing design for the F-111, jointly developed with NASA, and even procured 10-20x additional F-111s from graveyard for about $1 each of which to apply the new wing. Invest perhaps about $120-140m per aircraft for new avionics, mission computer, cockpit, wiring, delta wing and thrust-vectoring F100-229 engines. Outsource the upgrade of course. Operate that puppy until 2035+ as air component of overall strategic deterrence.

Bonza said...


Show where I said only F/A-18 can carry standoff weapons? Obviously you missed my comments on JSF with JSOW and JASSM and F-111 with AGM-142 and Harpoon?

5-6 non-operational tankers? Not sure what you mean by "non-operational? Refuelling of Australian fighters is about to get underway, but there's no great rush. In any case, KC-30A's have refuelled F/A-18's plenty of times, just not Australian ones. Please don't confuse peacetime risk management clearance with wartime clearances. They are a completely different kettle of fish.

"Studies have provided relevant upgrade paths". Funny. I live in a strange world? APA's entirely untested paper theories for F-111 upgrades are credible but RAAF exercises, real world experience and training today against the regional nations we are so threatened by is irrelevant. Yeah, I'm the one living in a strange world alright...

In RAAF service today, Orion, Hornet and Super Hornet provide standoff missile capability amd the zorion doesn't have air to ground capability only anti-ship. That WILL change within the next ten years.

At a platform level we've moved from 17 platforms with standoff air to ground capability to 95 aircraft with standoff capability.

If people think that's a downgrade in capability, well there's not much more to say.

Bushranger 71 said...

Hang on Guys. Supposedly, the main aim of a badly flawed defence policy (DWP2009) is to 'defeat and deter armed attack upon Australia'. Realistically, the continent is militarily indefensible, but capacity to deter interference with trade corridors is an affordable realistic ambition.

Whatever we have done in our nearer region since WW2 has been 'tactical', not strategic so why this ridiculous notion of capacity to strike at distant nations? Australia would more likely be asked to provide nearer military assistance and we really do not need to get sucked into more conflicts in faraway places.

A combination of an enhanced F-111 for maritime strike and some proven working submarines for operations in nearer seas would have been an optimum deterrent package, supported of course by adequate ISR via Global Hawk and refurbished P-3C. But what is more appropriate in the tactical sense are post-Vietnam capabilities that have/are being forfeited – utility helos, gunships (not AAH), STOL airlift. Add to that an AC-130 capability and replace 2 squadrons of F-18 Hornets with A-10s and the ADF would be much better equipped for near region involvements.

Methinks Bonza that your 'dreamtime' mob in Canberra are actually lessening the military capacity of the ADF the more money they spend. The Navy in particular is so dysfunctional it may take 2 decades to remediate and their potential problems concerning introduction of new platforms are being camouflaged. The Army is not suitably equipped for regional wet tropics operations and Army Aviation will become a costly millstone considering the absurd ADF helo fleet rationalisation strategy. While the Air Force is arguably in better shape than the other 2 Services, there is too much focus on the 'star wars' stuff instead of basic tactical needs.

The laborious process toward developing Defence White Paper 2015 is already beginning; but by the time that eventuates, it should be realised that defence expenditure will have to be curtailed (not expanded) due to overriding national priorities and roles of the 3 armed forces will have to be rationalised. The sooner that happens, the better.

Still Perplexed said...

Bonza, please tell me what Defence Bureaucracy, DMO of Defence got right in the last 10 years.
SH,C17 do not count as they were left out of the process, which tells us something.
Five or six (currently non operational) tankers would support maybe 1 squadron of anything at a time.
“Please don't confuse peacetime risk management clearance with wartime clearances. They are a completely different kettle of fish.”Great excuse for stupidity.
Good to know we have plenty of warning, oh what was that place called, Ah East Timor?
Then there is the fact that there has been a gap of no tankers for many years due to the incompetence of those who fail to plan.( Let’s not mention amphibious fleets, Hornets running out of airframe hours, helicopters of all sorts that do not work etc etc.)
BR71 is correct, mountains of money for no effect.
DMO with 7,500 employees and a budget of $1.3 billion (with unfunded liabilities of a couple hundred million a year) to do what. Look what they have done to the Collins maintenance.
“Untested paper theories”, is that not the F35?
APA publishes properly referenced and peer reviewed proposals, and you are one of a group who cannot even debate such proposals in an intellectual manner, but seek to denigrate and defame people who are qualified and are identifiable.
I have yet to see one properly discussed and referenced input into such a debate by your uneducated ilk. The nonsense that avionics and systems cannot be upgraded is just that.
DSTO, not APA, indicated the structural integrity of The F111.

Of course the B52 should not be flying either. It is too old, the avionics cannot be upgraded and how does it defend itself,probsbly csnnot carry standoff weapons and not being an F18A unable to do everything.
Interesting you include the Orion as a presentable standoff platform, however the F111 is not? Must be due to be grounded as the avionics must be getting old?

The F111 was retired early on lies told by people well known to all of us, to the elected representatives, as was the Caribou. Remember, riddled with asbestos and the airframe shot. (Someone just bought about 7 of them for conversion to PT6 and a future life.)
Where is the replacement for the Caribou? Another gap, another example of lack of planning.

Your posturing is dishonest at the least.

Anonymous said...


Good post sir, and I've always enjoyed reading your input, but I would reply by saying it's a little premature in today's uncertain environment to being telling 'guys to hang on'.

It's a new world. We're collectively facing the most uncertain future in terms of capabilities AND intentions (unknown threat matrix) since the end of the Cold-War!

Yes it's critical to make sure your guys on the ground have the best equipment possible, if necessary, to conduct most capable wet tropical missions.

But that's besides the point that 1) strategic capabilities have exploded in the region and 2) until there is negotiated world peace and harmony, Australia will remain a critical component in association with allies - as she has historically been since the end of WWII - in maintaining a competitive and modernized capability as both deterrent and part of the global balance of power.

In this case, the 'new world' requirements require a significant upgrade in Australia's so-called 'strategic strike' capability if Australia is to remain a credible component of a collective deterrence and not left behind as the greater region literally explodes in unprecedented game-changing offensive strategic development and potential. Sad as it is.

Bonza said...

Don't know if you recall 1999 Perplexed, but I recall 1 Brigade being called to high readiness in January 1999, alongside 3 Brigade. I in fact recall Army doing workups all year long.

I recall F-111's and F/A-18's being deployed to RAAF Darwin.

I recall RAN elements moving to Darwin and deploying to sea in large numbers well in advance of Interfet.

I recall the intial elements of Interfet going in to Timor in about November 1999. Yeah a real "surprise" there. We only had about 11 months to prepare for it.

I admit I was wrong earlier. RAAF's KC-30A tankers have already received a partial clearance to refuel Hornets and Super Hornets as of December 2011. Work is now proceeding on clearing the boom refuelling capability for Wedgetail and C-17. IOC is due in December 2012. Any emergency would see emergency clearance given to refuel our fighters at present.

As to your assertation that 5x tankers could only support one squadron, I think you misunderstand just how much fuel these things carry.

Does the ability to offload 65 tons of fuel at 1000nm whilst remaining on-station for 2 hours, sound like it can only support 2 fighters? Because that's what 1 single KC-30A provides.

Reality is, 2 tankers will support a single squadron in most of our operations. We definitely need more if we are going to conduct long range operations (something even the infallible F-111 needed) but 5-6 gives a good latent capability than can support limited operations. All the current fleet is intended to provide.

“Untested paper theories”, is that not the F35? On the contrary. F-35 has undertaken far more testing than APA's F-111S upgrade ever had. All you had there was a wishlist of bolted on systems, migrated onto an already 10 year old + partially upgraded avionics system.

I never presented the Orion as a viable standoff weapons platform, I mentioned it has a standoff air to surface capability through the Harpoon Block II missile system.

I thought I'd made it abundantly clear just like the ADF has, that I don't advocate 50+ year old platforms as a relevant capability in the modern battlespace, unlike most who inhabit this "group".

Apparently not clearly enough.

The P-8A however should have a very useful standoff missile capability when it enters service.

The USN are putting SLAM-ER on theirs, I think a strong argument could be made to put JASSM/JASSM-ER on ours... But no matter what missile it has, just like your beloved B-52 it will stay well out of any sort of threat envelope and launch standoff weapons (and perhaps MALD-J type systems) from high altitude and high subsonic cruise speeds.

Such will again further boost our strike capability. Expensively, but there's nothing else for it. AGM-142's weren't cheap either...

Bonza said...

Anon, I couldn't agree more.

That is why Australia HAS moved from investing it's "strategic strike" capability soley in the hands of 17x F-111C aircraft fitted with an 80k ranged weapon, to 95x fighter aircraft with a 400k ranged weapon and a 130k range weapon respectively.

Both of those weapons projects have planned -ER variants and upgrades that we plan to acquire in future years, unlike the AGM-142 (the SOW that F-111 carried) that was at the end of it's development path.

This capability is going to be enhanced with a maritime patrol aircraft with a 130k+ weapon and more than likely a 400k+ weapon (JASSM, JASSM-ER or JSOW-ER), Destroyers with a 1800K weapon, Frigates with an 1800k weapon and submarines with an 1800k weapon.

Apparently according to some in this blog however, the move to operating more than 6 times as many standoff weapons carriers, with vastly superior weapons capabilities, than we operated in 2007 is actually a backward step that will lessen our overall strike capability.

Seems hard to comprehend to me, but there you go.

Extremely Perplexed said...

Bonza as I said , dishonset in the extreme.

Keep defending the indefensible.

Bushranger 71 said...

Hello Anonymous (whichever one!). I agree that the bigger picture is now becoming more sinister. George Bush invaded Iraq because Saddam intended oil trading in other than US dollars and Iran is now sandwiched between about 40 locations where US military assets are positioned; not because of any supposed nuclear weaponry potential in my view, but because the Persians seemingly intend breaking away from USD oil trading. America is in parlous economic circumstances and their dollar would thus likely collapse and no longer have world reserve currency status.

The US push to maintain so-called 'primacy' in SE Asia is also a charade as the trade corridors through that part of the world are just as important to regional nations as the larger global community. Containment of North Korea is perhaps a justifiable argument; but there would arguably be much less political-military tension in the region if the US would withdraw from within China's perceived First Island Chain. However, the Chinese know that America needs to keep its military-industrial complex ticking over at a high capacity, so the Orientals are developing capabilities to counter US dominance (if necessary) out to the perceived Second Island Chain.

Alas; our great American friends (to whom Australia owes an unrepayable debt for WW2 sacrifices) are again doing their best to suck us into capabilities to fight more wars in faraway places and at military levels that Australia cannot economically afford. The lumbering bureaucratic process to generate a new White Paper by 2015 is now beginning; but what is really needed is immediate trashing of the existing flawed DWP2009 document - and the associated 10 year Defence Capability Plan - and speedy generation of a replacement strategy based on updated strategic intelligence assessments, without political interference.

The reality is Australia cannot continue escalation of defence spending and the focus must changed toward remediation of forfeited capabilities and equipping more appropriately for regional operations. But both of the major political parties are so locked into largely foreign-parented defence industry support moreso than military preparedness, there seems low prospects for much change in defence policy posture.

Sorry my friend, but I cannot abide the hype and propaganda that seems to emanate from the worldwide arms industry/military hawk fraternity regarding perceived regional strategic capabilities and the need for collective deterrence. The more Australia progresses toward a mythical Force 2030 structure, the more weakened its military capacity has become – not unlike what happened to the USSR during the Cold War. As Eric has aptly expressed previously; 'just too many toys in the sandbox.'

Incredibly Perplexed said...

Bushranger,surely the time to reinvigorate the ghost of Essington Lewis?
Sorry bonza, a little above your head.

Bonza said...


I've pointed out every single one of your previous alleged "dishonesties" in this thread as a mistake on your behalf, yet you continue to call me dishonest.

So without getting into the whole "combat coded jet" thing because that applies equally to the F-111, though one wouldn't think so according to the worship it is afforded on this blog, are you prepared to admit at least that RAAF now has far more standoff weapons platforms and far more capable weapons than it did when we still operated the Hornet/F-111 force?

2 years ago less than one single squadron could be allocated that task. Now 4 full squadrons can do it.

Yet somehow our "strategic strike" is diminished?

I bet you were a big fan of putting your hands over your eyes and playing "you can't see me" in your earlier years...

Bonza said...

As for Lewis, a great man. Not one stuck in the past thinking everything was "better" back in my day...

Bushranger 71 said...

Hey Bonza; your April 23/1:40AM post was not really a very good snipe.

British hegemony in the Middle East and SE Asia outlived its day. Similarly America seeking to maintain military dominance in either region, where local nations have been progressively growing stronger (economically and militarily), will only foment instability but of course keep the US military-industrial complex afloat. The main focus of the invaluable ANZUS alliance would be more appropriately based on the SW Pacific where the US can operate from its own and allied territories without materially aggravating emerging powers in their parts of the world.

US military basing in Australia is a very welcome move in my opinion; but the USMC apparently intend conducting annual training exercises in the Northern Territory only during the dry season! That aspect of course poses questions for potential operations in a very rugged and soggy PNG for example.

Your lot in Canberra Bonza seem to be virtually dismissive of the lessons that should have been learned from WW2 onwards and especially Australia's military involvement in the regional wet tropics, as evidenced by the shedding/ignoring of tactical capabilities appropriate for operations in that very challenging potential combat environment.

If DoD can find pretty modest funding at short notice to acquire HMAS Choules and the Skandi Bergen (ultimately for Customs at defence vote expense), then why could some other futuristic projects not be cancelled or trimmed and remaining Iroquois, Blackhawk, Seahawk assets put through ongoing manufacturer upgrade programs to remediate capabilities being forfeited? Put the super-costly MRH90 into storage if necessary and/or give some of them to Customs where they might be more suited than for military purposes.

Continuing down the F-35 track also seems perilous, so why not extend the in-service life of the F/A-18 by reducing to 2 squadrons and lease 2 squadrons of A-10s being mothballed in the US? Capacity to operate jointly with the USAF would thus also be broadened. There are cost-effective ways of getting better value for the defence dollar while also enhancing ADF military preparedness for regional operations; but more flexible thinking is required by DoD rather than just forging ahead toward a somewhat mythical Force 2030 concept that will inevitably cause defence operating costs to soar.

Very perplexed said...

You have hit it on the head Bushranger.Apparently history means nothing, and none has a map of the Pacific and Asia.

"Your lot in Canberra Bonza seem to be virtually dismissive of the lessons that should have been learned from WW2 onwards and especially Australia's military involvement in the regional wet tropics, as evidenced by the shedding/ignoring of tactical capabilities appropriate for operations in that very challenging potential combat environment."

It has to be new and shiny and supported by overseas corporations to be any good.(and cost a bomb to maintain)

The nonsense that comes from the uneducated ilk such as Bonza unfortunately is becoming the norm.
There is no critical thinking or analysis, apart from jumping into groupthink.
Iam amazed that Bonza had even heard of Essington Lewis, although he has missed the point.

Bonza said...

Actually Bushranger it was a well aimed shot, not a poor snipe.

Your constant harping about "corporations" directing defence is all well and good, but why don't you mention where you get your Huey II data from? The Huey II that is the solution to all of Army's tactical transportation ills and will allow us to re-instate the "jungle fighting prowess" that you claim is lost, but a point those who still do their courses through Tully And Canungra disagree with?

Your mate that works at Bell is your source isn't it? Seems like we have to pick our corporations here, you've clearly chosen Bell so I'll stick with the one we've already paid $1.5b and counting. Over 600 NH-90's have been ordered worldwide by more than 10 countries, so obviously some people besides ADF see some utility in these helicopters...

You might have also missed the news, but we have been conducting military operations for 13 years in these places you say we cannot go namely the jungles of Timor and for 7 years in the jungles of the Solomans,

It might also be a wake up for you but there are no remaining Iroquois in service in ADF. Navy's UH-1B and Army's UH-1H have been retired for years now. They are as gone from ADF service as the F-111, though not as visibly I'll grant you.

5 years ago, I would have agreed with your thoughts on Blackhawk, we should have re-manufactured these to UH-60M standard and purchased additional new-build UH-60M's to be assembled on the same line to replace the UH-1H capability, but that bird has flown. More than $1.5b worth of helicopters and supporting elements would be written off under your plan with more cash having to be found to get a Blackhawk re-building program off the ground. Sorry buddy, but you have completely lost touch with reality if you think that is a viable option in today's political space.

You might as well wish for the O Boats to be brought back, afterall there are still a few of them floating about the place...

But anyway, seeing as though this thread is about strategic strike, I'm sure Eric would prefer us to return to that, so Perplexed, would you do the courtesy of responding to MY last question as I have done yours?

Incredibly Perplexed said...

Bonza, apart from you other failings, you cannot read and comprehend.
Dishonset it is.

Still Incredibly Perplexed said...

Sorry."dishonest",can not type.

Bushranger 71 said...

Bonza; I previously informed you elsewhere that I have no mates working for multi-national arms corporations. The info provided me re Huey II by a Bell representative (formerly an Army Aviation aviator) is all publicly available.

I really feel you just do not get what cost-effective utility helicopter operations are all about and as others have said herein, you keep on trying to defend the indefensible.

Maybe Eric will consider refreshing the 'Helicopters for the ADF' thread as there are some questions for Bonza and his ilk to answer!

Bonza said...

I'm sure it is publicly available but your constant preaching of it is hardly different to anyone else preaching what they believe to be the best for defence. The fact that it was provided to you by a colleague and your continual "pimping of it" to the exclusion of any other idea is where I take issue here.

I get the cost idea, what you apparently don't get is the "effective" parts of what a modern battlefield utility helicopter needs.

I recall your post sometime back about the "600lbs" or so of weight available in Huey II to equip a FLIR sensor or an EWSP kit or a helmet mounted sights or a nav radar etc.

What you are not understanding or choosing not to admit is that a modern helicopter requires ALL of these capabilities simultaneously. It is not an and/or situation. Even the budget-strapped Kiwis have recognised this in their recent helicopter acquisition programs.

Even if we'd chosen to adopt re-manufactured S-70i's they'd have come with navigation radar, FLIR sensor, helmet mounted sights, EWSP, door gunner capability and so on. The idea that we'd accept anything less is just ludicrous and sends us back to the 80's "fitted for but not with" philosophy of buying equipment we can be sure will never be used anywhere other than domestically for disaster relief, because the risk profile in doing so is just too high and IF a war emerges on the horizon we'll have a decade to escape the consequences of such poor decisions.

Now whether the MRH-90 is the right choice or not it's been made, I've already said I thought they should have taken the UH-60M path as recommended by Army at the time but it wasn't. Do you find it morally justifiable to throw away another $1.5b plus un-specified breach of contract fees through cancelling yet another helicopter program? Most especially now that the program is showing some signs of emerging from it's own "developmental" hell?

It's an interesting counter-point to your argument for "cost-effectiveness" that you feel is so important...

Perplexed, still unwilling to address my question I see. I address yours, but you are willing to afford the same courtesy or indeed even acknowledge that I have done so.

Bushranger at least has some common courtesy, even if we share different viewpoints.

Bonza said...

Are not... Sorry.

Bushranger 71 said...

Bonza; I will try to obliquely stick with the 'strategic' theme.

Any capital investment in military hardware should be optimised until it is no longer cost-effective and affordability of costly replacement carefully considered. Despite the arms industry continually coercing nations to acquire their increasingly expensive hardware, they also generate modular kits and weaponry adaptations for upgrade of existing well-proven platforms as affordable options.

There are any number of examples: B-52, F-15, C-130, U-2, UH-60L DAP, Huey II, etcetera; and of course around $2billion spent on F-111 enhancement may have saved a few billion on the Super Hornet acquisition and provided more breathing space for development of a better option than the F-35.

As you have implied, let's debate helo aspects on a more appropriate thread; but there are a couple of points that can be simply made here. Unit cost of maybe $35million (for Tiger and MRH90) is not justifiable for RW platforms for basic battlefield work. The more that is spent on overly complex (and somewhat deficient) hardware, the less capacity the ADF will have to adequately perform all envisaged roles. The imprudent helo rationalisation strategy based on up-market gear is just weakening military capacity and flying time for the boys and girls will inevitably become very scarce due to operating cost pressures.

Just like the amphibious support debacle, the foreseeable problems re the helo fleet could be offset at modest cost; but that would require some beyond 'group think' initiative and positive leadership from the military echelon in Canberra.

Continuing to be Perplexed said...

Lieutenant Colonel Bonza, I think Bushranger puts it very well.

My observations are that you are part of the groupthink, and really unable to critically look at things and analyse the facts available.
Others do, such as Bushranger and APA.
You ignore the massive failures and incompetence of DMO and Defence,which appears to be ongoing.
Until this is stopped the wastage of resources and money continues, providing diminishing capability.Clear as a bell.

I am not going to repeat everything over and over again.Please refer to my previous coments if have not yet read them.I have made my points.

geogen said...

Wow this thread has taken off since last looked...

No doubt there are some rather elaborate views revealed in the course of a discussion thread once in awhile.

With respect to Bushranger's above expressed stance on his greater strategic doctrine, beyond the requirements and capabilities for strategic strike, there's probably some over-simplification of very complex and multi-fold global issues being made. Many broader issues being debated are not mutually exclusive regardless of two parties universally agreeing on one point or another, so conclusions drawn are sometimes more ideologically based than they are rationalized.

That being said, I give my full support especially to Bonza and Bushranger's joint-effort in continuing their civil debates even when most opposed (and yep, even when the topic slides off-thread a bit which is the simple reality of discussion boards).