Thursday, May 10, 2012

USAF boss General Schwartz argument about not needing C-27 is shot down by Australia

The boss of the USAF is wrong.


Australia will purchase 10 C-27J aircraft. Read the reasons why below from the Defence press release. Note the airfield comparison metrics between the C-130 and C-27.

Schwartz (never a 4-star genius on air power issues) assumes America will never need to get into airfields unavailable to the C-130.

Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Materiel – Joint Media Release – New Battlefield aircraft for the Air Force

10 May 2012

Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that the Government had agreed to purchase 10 Alenia C-27J Spartan Battlefield Airlift aircraft at a cost of $1.4 billion.

The C-27J will replace the Caribou aircraft which was retired from service in 2009 after a career spanning more than four decades. The C-27J complements the capabilities of the C-130 and C-17 aircraft and uses common infrastructure and aircraft systems such as engines, avionics and the cargo handling systems.

The acquisition of the C-27J will significantly improve the ADF’s ability to move troops, equipment and supplies. The C-27J has the capacity to carry significant load and still access small, soft, narrow runways that are too short for the C-130J or runways which are unable to sustain repeated use of larger aircraft.

In Australia, the C-27J can access over 1900 airfields compared to around 500 for the C-130 Hercules aircraft. In our region, the C-27J will be able to access over 400 airfields compared to around 200 for the C‑130 Hercules aircraft.

These aircraft will provide battlefield airlift but are also capable of conducting airlift in our region. They will be able to operate from rudimentary airstrips in Australia and overseas and will be able to support humanitarian missions in remote locations.

The flexibility of the C-27J allows it to undertake a wide range of missions from delivering ammunition to front line troops to undertaking aero-medical evacuation of causalities.

A Battlefield Airlifter needs to be able to operate in a high threat environment. The C-27J with its missile warning systems, electronic self protection, secure communications and battlefield armour provides protection from threats ranging from small arms to highly lethal man portable air defence systems (MANPADS).

The C-27J was assessed by Defence as the aircraft which best met all the essential capability requirements and provides the best value for money. It was assessed as being able to fly further, faster, higher while carrying more cargo and requiring a smaller runway than the other aircraft under consideration, the Airbus Military C-295.

The acquisition of the 10 C-27J aircraft with associated support equipment will be conducted through a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) arrangement with the United States (US) at a cost of around $1.4 billion. The first aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2015 with the Initial Operating Capability scheduled for the end of 2016.

Initial logistic support, including training for aircrew and maintenance personnel will be provided through the FMS program, utilising the system that has been established in the US. Defence will seek a separate agreement with the C-27J manufacturer, Alenia, in order to ensure that RAAF can operate, maintain and modify the aircraft throughout its planned life.

Since the retirement of the Caribou fleet in 2009, Australia’s military airlift capability has comprised C‑17 heavy lift aircraft, C‑130 H and J model Hercules aircraft, the Interim Light Transport aircraft (8 Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft) and Navy and Army helicopters.

In the Budget the Government announced the retirement of the C-130H, which will proceed in an orderly fashion over the course of the year.

The 10 C-27J will be based in Richmond.

Media Contacts:

Mr Smith’s Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392

Mr Clare’s Office: Korena Flanagan (02) 6277 7620 or 0418 251 316

Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999


Amazingly Perplexed said...

I wonder how many paddocks the Caribou could access?
And certaintly upgrades would not cost $1.4 billion.
And again the retirement of a capability before a replacement.

Anonymous said...

AUS looks like she has some pretty fair reasons for this decision, so more power to her.

Personally though, if with limited budget... I'd rather have a mix of C-130J + CH-53k (air refueled for remote humanitarian relief missions), than a C-130 + C-27 mix.

That being said, C-27 is arguably a very fine stand-alone acquisition for smaller armed forces as well.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't the C-27 make sense for Air National Guard units?

Anonymous said...

Can't help but feeling the USAF's antipathy to the C-27 is a repeat of their disdain for the A-10. Not fast, flashy and expensive enough for the blue suit generals.

Bushranger 71 said...

The USAF and RAAF are both in denial regarding STOL capability requirements for remote area operations and it seems the lessons of SE Asian and regional island archipelago operations by the RAAF over the past 50 years or more are not being heeded.

The C-27 simply does not have the STOL capability of the Caribou, with turbo-engined versions of ex-RAAF platforms now operating in Afghanistan and more of the Australian herd being converted.

The reckless forfeiting of low-time assets and squandering of funding on newer toys to satisfy absurd mythical Force 2030 notions of both the major political parties, seems destined to continue until operating cost burdens and absurd whole of life maintenance cost agreements virtually neuter the ADF. Former Chief of Army Peter Leahy recently voiced his concerns in this regard.

If the entire C-130H fleet is to be shed in addition to Caribou, then it seems a winding down of tactical airlift capacity, considering that C-17 is arguably more strategic.

Perplexed said...

In addition the nonsense proffered by the RAAF that it is a replacement for the Caribou is exactly that.
They note that that the C27J lands in more places than the C130H which is also meaningless.
The Caribou can land in a paddock, which gives the capability to land in hundreds of thousands of places, which is what is needed.
The Caribou was retired on a lie, the RAAF advising structural problems and being riddled with asbestos, both untrue.
My business partner at the time was an executive of the Company that maintained them in Brisbane. Many thousands of hours left. No structural problems that tin bashing could not fix.
They could have easily been upgraded to PT6 and new avionics for peanuts. Pen Turbo does it. In fact a “herd” of 7 ex RAAF machines are currently undergoing conversion for a purchaser for use in, yes that place.
An example.
It would appear that the

Perplexed said...

And I still love this.