Monday, May 7, 2012

Saving $37B on reality

Have a look at one of the men that wants to take your money and waste it on Operation: BARKING MAD.

It is an unfortunate fact that the Australian Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy (EDB) has to live within a realistic budget.

The assumptions that the rent-seekers make about an off-the-shelf sub not being suitable for Australian waters is a non-sense. If the same guy was hawking batteries in Euro-land guess what he would say?

The following is a comparison of savings that can be had in future procurements for fighter aircraft and subs. Realism vs. what the rent-seekers want.

Note that, since air policing is now the only option for Australia for its air power roadmap until budgets and the mental-health of Defence senior leadership improves (I know. Grossly optimistic. That's me.), best to get something one can actually afford; the Gripen. And I am talking about the C/D and not the future one.

Rent-seekers: $36B for subs that might not work; $16B for fighter aircraft that certainly will not work. Total waste: $52B.

Reality: $6B For 6 subs that will work. The dumbassery of the 2009 Defence White Paper with 12 subs was an imaginary number. Good. I will throw one out too: 6. More; but only if it is proven that we can crew and operate 6.

$9B for 72 C/D Gripens and 10 years of flying costs. I even pumped up the cost per flying hour significantly to make up for DMO goof ups. 10 years of flying costs is good enough because that is about as far as one can predict for labor, fuel and anything else.

Total capability: $15B

Savings of Reality vs. The Rent-seekers: $37B, if not more that doesn't have to be wasted on the low-productivity EDB.


Anonymous said...

The SAAB JAS-39 Gripen NG is not really the right choice for Australia to replace the F/A-18A/B Hornet fleet.

At the time the RAAF had 116 Mirage IIIO/IIID aircraft and lost 41 fatalities. Their was on-going controversy over the Mirages safety record still persists at time of writing. It was heavily utilised, operated at extremely low altitude in any weather, probably in saturated airspace infested with low flying birds, rolling hills, antennaes, many other high speed aircraft and gun firing which caused surges to the SNECMA Atar 9C turbojet which resulted an engine failure. To place the F-16V Viper and JAS-39C/D Gripen or Gripen NG in the excat environmental circumstances as in any of the Mirage accidents, and it too would have as high an attrition rate. If you place the twin-engined aircraft in the same situation the rate would be at least halved.

Although none of the JAS-39 Gripen aircraft crashed, but even their modern turbofan engine is reliable, what I'm concerned is that single engine aircraft are not designed for over water operations. Small fighters with short range are only ideal for smaller air forces in Europe, some Asian countries and some South American nations to operate them is because their range is not as important and they are surrounded by the small vast land areas, and more surrounding air bases (for any emergency situations e.g. hydraulic or engine failures). They can be equipped with either single or two engines (Actual range varies with mission).

Australia doesn’t have that environment is because our island is surrounded by the vast oceans and limited internal operational basing infrastructures which means small fighters with short range are ill-suited to our needs.

Another way of saving billions on reality is layout the different specifications on all these different aircraft that are available, as puppies in the litter such as the advanced F-15E+ Strike Eagle, Sukhoi Su-35S Super Flanker-E or PAK-FA.

Regards Peter

Anonymous said...

With the Sukhoi family fighters proliferating in our region.
Lockheed's F-16E/F / Block 60 subtype with AESA and conformal fuel tanks are not competitive against the Su-30MK and Su-35BM/Su-35-1 on any parameters, the Sukhoi will cleanly outclass the F-16 across the board and the Gripen family which probably shares many similar qualities with the F-16 which the Gripen will also be outclassed by the Flanker.

The Eurofighter Typhoon with AMSAR will compete with the Su-35BM/Su-35-1 in terms of close combat agility and dash speed, but the Typhoon doesn't have a decisive advantage in systems and sensors and cannot match the radar range of the Irbis-E (Snow Leopard) AESA radar, and also the Typhoon will not match a supercruise engine equipped Flanker.

The Dassault Rafale shares many qualities with the Typhoon, but is smaller, and much the same comparisons apply to the Su-35BM/Su-35-1.

Again if anyone wants to find more information about the Russians planes for Australia go to on Saving Billions on Air Forces, you'll probably find it interesting.

Assessing Russian Fighter Technology on Air Power Australia.

The RAAF needs a high capability fighter hopefully could take on the Flanker threat

Regards Peter

Anonymous said...


what is your opinion about the J-15 to take on the Flanker threat which you are seeing? I'm curious why you left out Chinese makes to counter the Russian make threats?

Also, I disagree with your brief argument made against the EF and Rafale as a credible option.

The reduced RCS of the EF Typhoon as well as ability to supercruise will arguably be good enough to compete with the radar advantage of a Flanker.

And a Rafale and Typhoon would likely be backed by AWACS thus negating any active RF advantage said Flankers would have.

Other than that though and back to my initial question for you... and I know that you have been pumping the Sukhoi option for some time now... but any significant strategic acquisition such as a fighter procurement of Russian or Chinese make would likely need to include more certainty with respect to a strategic shift in both the Kremlin's or Beijing's geopolitical posture and relationship.

Unfortunately, while economic inter-dependence is increasing globally, there's still just too much uncertainty today geo-strategically and trying gauge certain doctrines and ideologies 10 yrs out.

Eric Palmer said...

It is doubtful that the safety record of the Mirage III and Gripen have much in common.

Eric Palmer said...

Notice that I used the term "air policing". With the budget yoke around the neck of the DMO with wasteful projects such as the AWD and Amphib flat-tops. It is doubtful Australia can field a competitive air arm. Best to have more money pumped into paying for part of U.S. routine deployments of F-22s, B-2, B-1, F-15E, tankers and ISR.

Anonymous said...

To other Guest from 1:33 PM

The reason why the Rafale and Typhoon are not considered for RAAF's requirements. What I'm concerned is because they have limited weapons payload and they have small aperture in front of the radome which means they're equipped a small fire control radar and sensors which cannot generate powerful enough to detect them at longer ranges to shoot the Flankers down at BVR (Beyond Visual Range) is because the Su-35S Super Flanker-E's Irbis-E (Snow Leopard) AESA radar has a very long detection range to be able to find fighters at 217-248 miles (350-400 km)away and the Su-35 has the ability to track stealthy targets at an RCS of 0.11 sq.ft (0.01 sq.m) at 56 miles (90 km) etc.


Anonymous said...

To other Guest from 1:33 PM

You know Australia is approx 2,222 miles (4,000 km) wide is because the short range of the Typhoon, Rafale, F-16, Gripen or F-35 have too short a range for use by such a large country as Australia, which means they will have to be refuelled several times to fly across Australia or anywhere with the KC-30 tanker to escorting them for the radius of action they have to be flown.

Of course two engines is exactly what Australia must need to improve the safety, survivability and reliability over single-engined designs.

The Flanker family can outrange the small fighters. Sure, if you would like to know about their combat radius and ferry range here are the results.


At sea level N/A

At high altitude of 2,354 miles (3,790km) with internal fuel only.

With two 440 gallon (2,000 litre) external fuel tanks with a range of 2,726 miles (4,390 km).

With one top up from the IL-78tanker it can fly at 3,230 miles (5,200 km)


At sea level of 807 miles (1,300 km).

At high altitude of 1,863 miles (3,000 km) with internal fuel only.

With one top up from the tanker with a range of 3,230 miles (5,200km).

With two top ups from the IL-78 tanker of 4,341 miles (6,990 km).

Su-35S Super Flanker-E:

At sea level of 981 miles (1,580 km)

At high altitude of 2,236 miles (3,600+ km) with internal fuel only, with two 440 gallon (2,000 litre) fuel tanks with a range of 2,796 miles (4,500 km)

With one top up from the tanker is around 3,913 miles (6,300 km) with two top ups is N/A.

Sorry to shock you about the results. The Sukhoi family of fighters are a very tough beast to challenge in air-to-air combat in terms of performance parameters, aerodynamic, radar and sensor performance, large armament and long range.

The Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale are a great aircraft no doubt about that. With the reduced RCS as well as ability to supercruise will arguably be good enough instead to compete with the radar advantage of the Chengdu J-10 Vigorous Dragon or "Sinocanard" fighter and MiG-29/35 Fulcrum family.

I also agree with you earlier on about Australia should acquire 54x F-15AU (basically F-15SA + APG-82 plus PAWS-2 + touch-screen display intended for F-15SE, and also 3D thrust vectoring and supercruising as an option)as a best substitute to the F-35.

Anonymous said...

To other Guest from 1:33 PM

What I've heard about acquiring Russian fighters is they are cheaper to buy and maintain, due to the labour cost. To buy them you don't necessarily have to stick with their Russian avionics, weapons and engines. Sukhois can be equipped with for e.g. Western avionics, western weaponry, F110-GE-232 or modified F-119-PW-100 engines with 3D thrust vectoring nozzles. For e.g. the privately owned VH-ISK TS-11 Iskra (based at Essendon Airport, Melbourne Victoria) successfully test flown on 7th March with a 3,140 lb thrust Rolls Royce Viper turbojet engine which replaced the polish built WSK SO-3 turbojet rated at 2,205 lb.

The Su-30MKI variant is equipped with the data presentation system was supplied by the French company Thomson-CSF and comprised a VEH-3000 HUD, six 5x5" MFD55 colour liquid crystal displays (three in each cockpit). The same company supplied the Totem integrated INS/GPS suite. The data processing system included digital processors created by India's Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO). The ECM system was commissioned from Isreal Aircraft Industries (IAI) and was built around the EL/M-8222 active jammer developed by IAI's Elta division.

Another Israeli item used on the Su-30MKI was the Rafael Litening optoelectronic targeting/navigation system pod enabling day/night all-weather use of air-to-surface missiles. RPKB acted as the systems integrator.

How about research the Typhoon's and Rafale's fire control radars detection range and hopefully I'll see what I recommend the results.

Sorry folks if I took over the conversation. Keep commenting on whatever opinions you guys have.

Regards Peter

Anonymous said...

Greetings Peter,

So why not then pursue a deal for an Aussie-customized J-15 instead? Maybe even barter?

But truly, the Heavy Sukhoi, especially with western integrated avionics and engines will not be cheap to procure. It's a misconception.

The cost metrics have changed from the claimed prices of yesterday often quoted today. Simply, the so-called cheap Sukhoi perception is based on outdated info, whereas the new reality includes increased labor costs (continuing to rise), inflation and increased cost of materials and increased integration of high technology.

Additionally, such heavy fighters (F-15E+, Sukhoi, or J-series) will of course not be cheap to maintain or operate. One could place the F-35 in the boat too, sure, as it's claimed costs are underestimated.

As far as a Rafale not clearing AMRAAM, JSOW, or JASSM... that's a fair point and one which would likely demand complex and lengthy integration at substantial costs. But other similar class weapons would substitute of course.

With respect to the tiny fire control radars as noted... and implied inability of Typhoon to engage at decent BVR ranges... one might take notice that in today's age (and those mods under development), the ability to track and target passively in extended BVR can be achieved without employing large aperture fire control radars. The modern jet with next-gen passive receivers will likely be geolocating the position of those massive radars first, before being targeted themselves. Couple that with dedicated IRST systems to enable passive targeting beyond the range of the missile envelope itself, and the game has suddenly changed.

And lastly, fwiw, integrate an IRST pod on Eric's Gripen C proposal and a Meteor loadout suddenly enables a lethal and competitive BVR capability for such a light-weight jet. It would just come down to the update and ability of the jet's computer.

Anonymous said...

To the other Guest from 7:48 PM


"Additionally, such heavy fighters (F-15E+, Sukhoi, or J-series) will of course not be cheap to maintain or operate".

Not really the F-15 is quite easy to maintain and service. The aircraft has 570 sq.ft (52.9 sq.m) of access covers, with approximately half of these quick access doors. The F-15 has less than half the fasteners found on the earlier types, although having a greater number of access panels. The F-15 has 106 "Black Boxes" (Avionics Equipment), 97 fuel system plumbing connections, 202 lubrication points and a projected 11.3 Maintenance Man-Hours per Flight Hour (MMH/FH).

Although the game has suddenly changed. The advanced F-15s are equipped with the IRST pod too.

But I just want you to know that high capability fighters are still need to be considered to replace the existing Hornets and equip the MBDA Meteor on the advanced F-15E+ variants or Sukhoi.

Going back to what I mentioned the reason why the Rafale and Typhoon are not considered for RAAF's requirements. The Irbis-E AESA radar can track up to 32 targets and an ability to engage 8 simultanously.

Cheers Peter

Anonymous said...

But how many targets will Rafale and Typhoon's AESA upgrade be able to track and engage?

Maybe not as superior as an APG-81 or 82, but maybe good enough?

And once again... why not RAAF evaluate a customized J-15 option while we're at it?


Anders said...

@Anonymous May 8, 2012 4:11 PM

"Maybe not as superior as an APG-81 or 82, but maybe good enough?"

True, countries must start to get at grip with their spending and what their role (in their region) should be.

Dosen´t matter if AUS buy super hot F-15 (so Peter can be super happy), more F-18 (to keep it simple), PAK-FA (like that would ever happen), F-35 (if it ever will deliver what it promises), Rafele/EF (because two engines apparently is MUCH safer over water) or Gripen (because it´s cheap)... long as AUS know what they want, the ac meets the standards and they can afford it.

Preparing to repel a massive Chines invasion buy them selves or have the ability to penetrate heavily defended airspace for a first strike is not valid reasons to spend huge amount of money.

What is AUS role in the Pacific region and can they afford it?


"To place the F-16V Viper and JAS-39C/D Gripen or Gripen NG in the excat environmental circumstances as in any of the Mirage accidents, and it too would have as high an attrition rate. If you place the twin-engined aircraft in the same situation the rate would be at least halved."

Would? Don´t hold your breath...

"...the Sukhoi will cleanly outclass the F-16 across the board and the Gripen family which probably shares many similar qualities with the F-16 which the Gripen will also be outclassed by the Flanker."

Which probably... n what reasons? One engine?

"Australia doesn’t have that environment is because our island is surrounded by the vast oceans... (on the subject of a two engine design)"

And Norway dosen´t fly their F-16 over water?

It all comes down to money...

Best regards


Anonymous said...

To other Guest from 4:11 PM

How about if we research the Typhoon's and Rafale's the current fire control radars detection range and future equip AESA's. Hopefully I'll see what I recommend the results.

I'm sorry I didn't mean to disappoint you. I know you disagree with my statements about the reason why I didn't consider the Typhoon, Rafale, F-16 and Gripen for RAAF's requirements as an replacement for the Classic Hornet. The way I feel is I'm very concerned how the small fighters will stack up against the Sukhoi family (in terms of the Flankers performance parameters, aerodynamic, powerful radar and sensor performance, large armament and long range)in air-to-air combat with limited armament load compared to the Sukhoi's bigger armament etc, safety and survivability on single engine for overwater flights for the F-16 and Gripen and short range which means the small fighters will have to reliy on the KC-30 tanker to escort them to be refuelled several times to fly across Australia or anywhere they are deployed to, for the radius of action they have to be flown.

Although Australia has a small air force, we need an aircraft that can do the job much better that can give our small nation a hefty fire power, an aircraft that can deliver over 50% of greater punch, capable without refuelling from the KC-30 tanker to be able to fly across Australia or anywhere they are deployed to, for the radius of action they have to be flown that can get to the target area as fast as possible, ability to carry heavy weapons payload, better agility in air-to-air combat and greater acceleration etc to be hopefully be able to compete the Flanker threat.

The nose geometry of the F-35 limits the aperture of the APG-81 radar. This makes the JSF dependent on supporting AEW&C aircraft which are themselves vulnerable to long range anti-radiation missiles and jamming. Opposing Sukhoi aircraft have a massive 1 meter radar aperture enabling them to detect and attack at an JSF long before the JSF can detect the Sukhoi. The detection range for the JSF's AESA is approx at 150 miles which is short to medium range. So the Su-35s Irbis-E's detection range is a lot high.

Regards Peter

Anonymous said...

Again Peter, might a modern 4.5 gen fighter, properly equipped, passively geolocate source of the big Active RF prior to being tracked itself?

And if properly equipped with dedicated IRST, one can passively cue and target BVR munitions at their max effective range too.

Lastly... I'm curious of your impression of RAAF considering a customized J-15 as well?

(sorry if I missed a previous response with your view on the J-15)

Anonymous said...

To other Guest from 7:13 AM


Are you still around.

There's another reason why high capability fighters should still be considered for Australia to replace the 71 F/A-18A/B hornet fleet, is because what small fighters are impossible to carry are the two type potent guided munition weaponry the GBU-28 and AGM-130 to be able to give a more collateral damage.

GBU/EGBU-24/27/28 Paveway III
"Bunker Buster or Deep Throat"

This 2,000 lb GBU-24 and GBU-27 continue in service as a high precision proportional nav-guided laser guided weapons. The recently introduced Enhanced Paveway III EGBU-24 and EGBU-27 variants incorporate a GPS receiver and inertial unit and provide, like the Enhanced Paveway II, an autonomous all weather dual mode capability. With the 5,000 lb bunker busting GBU-28 sharing the same seeker hardware, with mode alternate software loads, as the GBU-24, it was inevitable that the enhanced seeker would find its way on to the GBU-28. The new EGBU-28 is the replacement for the legacy 5,000 lb GBU-37/BLU-113 GAM used by the B-2A Spirit, carried on the internal rotary launcher. The F-15E is the only other type capable of carrying the GBU-28/EGBU-28, although the baseline EGBU-28 was cleared on the F-111F.

Boeing AGM-130

The GBU/EGBU-15's sibling is the AGM-130, a rocket boosted derivative of the baseline weapon, which was used extensively in the 1999 Kosovo campaign. It was initially carried by the F-111, and now the F-15E. Late production weapons incorporate a GPS/inertial navigation system, software enhancements exploding the accurate midcourse nav system - these permit the seeker to be cued to the aimpoint automatically, a day/night thermal imaging seeker based on a 256 x 256 Midwave (3-5 Micron) Mercury cadmium Telluride Focal Plane Array chip, a daylight only CCD seeker, and optional Mk.84unitary or BLU-109/B bunker busting warheads.

Hopefully I'll try my best to research about the detection and track range for the future equipped AESA radars for the Typhoon and Rafale. Whatever info I'll find, because at the moment I only found the detection and track range for the Irbis-E (Snow Leapord) for the Su-35S at the moment.

Best Regards Peter

Anonymous said...

Yes I'm still around... and while you're at it, research the J-15 ;)

p.s. even more superior stand off weapons are available on the market or soon to be, than the old AGM-130 (USAF operated only). And these can be carried by Gripen class, as well as F-15E+, Rafale and Super Hornet among others.

Anonymous said...

1. Gripen never crashed in 140000flight hours due to engine failure
2. Gripen with its Meteor and radar/datalinks tactics as well as big RCS difference (1/0,1m2) will more than match up with any in the flanker family.
3. 850nm combatradius and 2200nm ferry range is more than the most bigger A/C
4. Gripens biggest role in its designdays was marine attack with RBS-15s. So i can not see any problems in this area.