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[P]
The Austral-Asian Strike Fighter

By cam in Technology
Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 02:10:16 PM EST
Tags: Focus On... (all tags)
Focus On...

The Australian Defence Force must defend and project across an air-sea gap. This requires long range autonomous strike weaponry. The Joint Strike Fighter does not solve this issue and detrimentally places added pressure on Australia's limited force of aerial refuelling assets. The world's defence manufacturers are not creating strike platforms that solve Australian needs. For this reason, Australia needs to look to other nations with similar defence needs. In this case, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan all face defending an air-sea gap. Australia should enter a partnership with these nations to create a strike fighter that satisfies the strategic needs of defending an air-sea gap. The benefits of such a partnership will be many.


Australian Projection

The primary focus of any nation-state's military force is to ensure the nation's sovereignty and independence from external martial coercion. This requirement demands that a military force be able to project force over the geographic approaches to the nation state. As Australia is an island-continent, this requires the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to be able to project over the air-sea gap that exists between Australia and Indonesia. Australia also contains economic assets of oil and fisheries on the continental shelf that may need to be defended as well. Consequently the defence of Australian sovereignty from outside martial force demands weaponry that is capable of projecting across and defending that air-sea gap.

Australia does not invest heavily in force multipliers and back-end support equipment such as logistical support. Certainly not to the level that the United States (US) military does. For this reason, Australian strike weaponry needs to be largely autonomous. While force multipliers such as the Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system are a necessity in modern projection, other force multipliers such as tankers are in relative short supply in the ADF. Australia has few enough tankers that the loss of even a couple will have a great bearing in the Air Force's capability and operational tempo. This risk is potentially large enough that the Air Force will not be able to project across the air-sea gap and leave Australia poorly defended.

The General Dynamics F111 which is still in service with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), is an example of an autonomous strike weapon. The F111 is capable of ranging nearly six thousand kilometres out into the Indian Ocean, across the Timor Sea and up through Java. The F111 carries a large payload of precision weaponry that can be used against multiple targets in the one long operational mission. The F111 is a powerful statement in strike projection. The F111 is nearing the end of its operational life span and there is no replacement to the F111 in the world's armoury.

The Joint Strike Fighter

Australia has recently chosen to join the development phase of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. Signifying an almost certain procurement of the JSF for the Australian air force. The JSF will be a sophisticated piece of weaponry, but it is designed to solve the strategic needs of the United States and the United Kingdom. Both are nations that desire global projection and have the supporting infrastructure to achieve that role for the JSF. Australia does not have the same infrastructure behind the JSF and will ultimately become reliant on the US to supply that capability in any medium or high intensity conflict.

The JSF has a two thousand kilometre range without supporting tankers. This is an improvement over the F18's one thousand kilometre range but far short of the F111's six thousand. The JSF is being chosen by Australia to replace both the F18 and F111, so it requires the capability to be able to take over the roles that these aircraft fulfilled. For the JSF to be able to perform the capability that the F111 currently satisfies, the JSF requires force multipliers, and most notably tankers to achieve this. The tankers are something that the Australian Air Force has in short supply. There is no governmental discussion of future expansion of this important component of the Australian air force. Consequently the JSF procurement places added pressure on the already in demand and small Australian tanker force.

The tankers come with other issues, since the JSF will use the tankers with greater rapidity than the F111's, this will require the tankers to be placed in positions of greater risk. Consequently, the tankers themselves will be required to be defended by JSF formations. Tieing up strike resources away from strike projection. The Joint Strike Fighter is a global projection weapon that was designed with the understanding that it would be operated by an Air Force that has a complete set of force multipliers such as tankers, and the means to defend those force multipliers. Australia does not require global projection, and does not have the back-end forces to support such a heavily integrated and dependent weapon system as the JSF.

Australian Strategic Needs

Australia's strategic requirement to defend and project across an air-sea gap is not being met by the world defence manufacturers. The United States and Britain are making global projection platforms whose effectiveness is predicated on a large and voluminous support infrastructure of force multipliers. Europe is still making point to point weaponry that is more suitable to western European cold-war conflicts. There is nothing in the world armoury to replace the F111 or to completely fill the requirements that Australia's air-sea gap strategy demands. However - Australia is not alone with these needs.

Several other island and peninsula nations have air-sea gaps to defend. Most notably Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. These nations face similar predicaments to Australia when choosing from the current defence systems that are on the world market. Their requirements for defending across an air-sea gap are not being met either. There is considerable common ground here for Australia to explore - most notably in developing, manufacturing and deploying an Austral-Asian strike weapon as a co-ordinated effort between Australia, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

All four nations are Australian trading partners, with democratic forms of government and well established, powerful, technologically based economies. These nations have defence requirements that have left them disenfranchised by the world's defence manufacturers. The partnership to develop a strike platform would have regional economic, defence, security and stability benefits as well as ensuring the nations that have air-sea gaps to defend armed their military with the hardware that matched their needs.

Benefits of an Austral-Asian Strike Fighter

  • Strike weaponry that matches Australia's defence requirements exactly
  • Increase indigenous aerospace capability
  • Genuine technology sharing
  • Lesser dependence on US defence manufacturers
  • Lesser dependence on US military infrastructure
  • Development cost sharing
  • Increased regional political focus
  • Increased regional focus on security and stability
  • Increased potential for disruptive technology

Indigenous Aerospace Industry

The Australian Air Force in the 1930's was faced with the possibility of being cut off from the Europe and the United States with no local aerospace manufacturing capability. Air Marshal Richard Williams recognised this weakness and embarked Lawrence Wackett to head the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation. This company produced Wacketts, Wirraways and Boomerangs for Australia in the second World War. Even designing innovative prototypes such as the Kangaroo and Woomera.

This indigenous capability was slowly lost as Australian industry became less and less involved in the aircraft Australia purchased. In 2003, Australia signed on to be involved in the development work of the Joint Strike Fighter. A far cry from the involvement Australian industry had in the 1940's and 50's. More importantly, the Joint Strike Fighter program does not allow for much in the way of technology sharing with Australian industry. Australia has become a locked-in vendor to the Pentagon and American defence industries.

Australian applied scientists and engineers are more than the equal of any other nations. The Collins class Submarines and ANZAC Frigates have shown how well Australian industry can design, develop and manufacture world class systems. It is time the aerospace industry received the same confidence and oppurtunities from the Australian government and people as the maritime industries have. Australian aerospace companies, applied scientists and engineers will produce an aircraft that is dominant in its field, economic to develop and maintain; as well as innovative technologically.

Genuine Technology Sharing

Of the weapon systems currently being developed or procured by the Australian Defence Force, there is only one system that includes genuine technology sharing. For most weapon systems, especially US developed weapon systems, Australia is not much more than a licensee of vendor equipment. When Australian defence companies are developing the weapon systems that the ADF uses then Australia will have complete access to the technology. This is important for a the creation of a sustainable and self-reliant defence force.

The increasing capitalisation costs of the defence industry have led to the US government putting fewer contracts out to bid for system development. This has led to the consolidation of the US defence industries into a few monstrous behemoths including Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, McDonnell-Douglas and Raytheon. The downside of this consolidation is that these companies are large enough and sufficiently devoted to their main client, the Pentagon, that they can ignore many requests from a small purchaser like Australia. Requests like the need for Australia to have the source code for the systems being purchased. This further entrenches the reliance of the Australian military on outside vendors and places greater restraint on the ability for the ADF to be self-reliant.

Lesser Dependence on US Defence Industries

With the consolidation of the American defence industries into a few extremely large companies, Australia's bartering position with these companies has been weakened. Australia is not a large enough procurer of their weapons and systems to warrant special attention as a large procurer and investor like the United States government is. In the 1990's Australia has faced more and more issues in getting simple things such as the source code for the systems purchased. Without the source code, Australia is largely placed at the mercy of international governments and vendors. Argentina was placed in a similar position during the Falklands War when it was unable to replenish its inventory of Exocet missiles.

Australian companies that integrate the weapon systems on many of the Australian land, naval and air assets often find themselves doing little more than integrating in existing American technologies from the large American defence companies. Australia requires a sustainable and independent force. The powerful place that American defence companies have on Australian weapon systems is not in the ADF's long term interests. Expanding Australia's indigenous defence industries alleviates this reliance.

Lesser Dependence on US Defence Infrastructure

Australian procurement in the last several years was heavily based upon the Australian ability to take advantage of the American support and logistical infrastructure. The purchase of the second-hand Abrams tanks were an example of the Federal Government expecting the ADF to transparently slide into the US military in an operation. This was the same methodology that the Australian Navy was procured with in the 1930's. This was disastrous. It left Australia without an independent Navy in 1942 with little blue water command and control capability. The same policies in the 21st century will produce the same results from 1942 for the ADF, should Australia become involved in a medium or high intensity conflict.

The other lesson from the 1930's was that Britain was quickly and easily over-extended. The US is currently embroiled in a regional conflict in Iraq, the possibility for the US to become over-extended is real should another medium-intensity conflict arise. The policy of relying heavily on the US military infrastructure for Australian capability and operational tempo is a naive, reckless and potentially disastrous policy. The Australian Defence Force should be independent and sustainable. One that is not reliant on an outside military for any capability.

Development Cost Sharing

One of the largest costs for a new weapons platform is the development cost. The development cost for the F/A-22 was nineteen billion USD over twelve years, for the JSF it is expected to be over twenty-five billion USD with nations other than the US contributing four and half billion. Australia currently maintains a defence budget of over sixteen billion AUD. This covers salaries, maintaining existing platforms as well as new platform development and procurement. The Australian defence budget is approximately 1.9% GDP which is on the low side compared to the British 2.5% and American 3.5%.

There is room for increased Research and Development in the Australian Defence Budget. Even so, the cost for a new weapons platform is high. With a partnership of other nations, the cost of development for a new platform is defrayed. This will make the task and the cost more acceptable to the Australian treasury and the Australian people.

If Australia was to develop a strike platform the cost could be expected to add approximately three billion AUD to the Australian defence budget each year. If Australia was an equal partner in developing a new strike platform, this cost would drop to approximately an extra one and half billion each year. This money would be going directly to Australian industry. By comparison, the cost of purchasing one hundred JSF aircraft is expected to be eighty billion AUD with most of the money heading off-shore.

Increased Regional Political Focus

Japan, the US, China and South Korea are Australia's top trading partners. Of Australia's top seven export markets, five are regional including Japan, China, New Zealand, South Korea and Taiwan. These are the realities of the modern Australian economy. Australian foreign and defence policy has been far more focused on the United States - to the point of imbalance. A regional partnership between democratic nations such as Australia, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan to develop defence platforms will enhance the the political focus of the Asia-Pacific to regional issues.

While the development of an Austral-Asian strike fighter is intended to overcome deficiencies in the JSF and its lack of bearing on Australia's strategic requirements, there will be added benefits in the recognition of common strategic interests by Australia and its regional partners.

Increased Regional Focus on Security and Stability

A regional partnership for a Strike Fighter will focus more public, media and political attention on the common goal of regional security and stability. China has shown remarkable growth in moving to a market economy and Indonesia will ultimately do the same. As these nations come to economic and political maturity, it is important that their growth to maturity is not hampered or destroyed by regional stability concerns. Increased globalization of capital and trade has made the Pacific-rim economies interdependent. It is only in a stable and secure regional environment that economic growth and its benefits can be sustained.

Increased Potential for Disruptive Technologies

The high-tech boom of the 1990's came through the disruptive technology of the internet. This created demand in new fields such as software that education institutions could not match demand for. The labour markets were expanded as new positions were created, that allowed those who showed endeavour to achieve. The internet came from government investment, by the US military in DARPA and by applied science investment from Europe in CERN. These investments in applied science and engineering led to the high tech boom.

Private companies are unwilling to spend large amounts of high risk capital on research and development in the applied science and engineering fields. It is a risky long term investment and private industry is focused on short term returns for shareholders. Unfortunately, it is the long term investment from research and development that produces disruptive technologies such as the internet. Disruptive technologies also fuel as a by-product labour market expansion and economic expansion. Defence Research and Development spending serves as stable, long-term funding in the applied sciences and engineering. It is from this long term funding that disruptive technologies appear.

Conclusion

The Australian Defence Force is a defending an air-sea gap and must do so without Australia making large investments in back-end support platforms such as tankers. Consequently the strike platforms the ADF requires must be largely autonomous. Australia is not alone in its strategic needs, other democratic nations such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are also having their requirements ignored. It would benefit Australia and the region to create a partnership between these nations to develop, manufacture and deploy a strike platform that fits the needs of the respective defence forces. The benefits of undertaking the task of an Austral-Asian Strike Fighter are many.

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The Austral-Asian Strike Fighter | 268 comments (261 topical, 7 editorial, 2 hidden)
Who are you defending against? (3.00 / 8) (#1)
by aristus on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 01:52:28 PM EST

I am ignorant of Australia. Who is likely to attack Australia with weapons that can be countered by fighter planes and warships?
--

??? "A man of imagination among scholars feels like a sodomite at a convention of proctologists." -- Paul West


i'd say.. (none / 3) (#3)
by vivelame on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 02:05:54 PM EST

china?

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
on the side of paranoia (none / 1) (#5)
by the sixth replicant on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 02:38:25 PM EST

try Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world

just an idea

ciao

[ Parent ]

What does being Muslim have to do with anything? (3.00 / 3) (#8)
by Driusan on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 04:21:45 PM EST




--
This space for rent.
[ Parent ]
ideological differences? (3.00 / 3) (#13)
by spooked on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 08:27:43 PM EST

Currently there is a strong divide between the western/christian world and the muslim world. Being individually muslim has nothing to do with it but the religious bias of the given governments might.

[ Parent ]
west versus islam? (3.00 / 2) (#42)
by geoswan on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 03:22:37 PM EST

Are you sure that it is the West versus Islam? Or is the friction mainly between America/Israel and the Arab Islamic nations? With the recent exception of new fundamentalist factions has the non-Arab Islamic world given much of a darn about this fight?



[ Parent ]

Yes its the west versus islam. (3.00 / 3) (#55)
by kamil on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 06:30:28 PM EST

Islamic fundamentalists think of it as west versus islam. Terrorist still act in Spain after Spain withdrew, France is also a target, so is Germany.

Why would these countries be targeted? they were agaist the war in Iraq. Because it is a war agaist the west, against democracy, against foriegn ideas, agaist globalisation of ideas, technology, culture, freemarket capitalism, against change. Read the translated new stories and sermons available on the web, you can read what they say themselfs.

A funny thing no acts of terror against Poland ocured, and Poland has been running 3 in support of Iraq war in terms of troops and diplomatic pressure.

[ Parent ]

Nope. (none / 1) (#15)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 09:46:52 PM EST

But helping East Timor might.

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
Helping East Timor?? (2.00 / 4) (#17)
by aristus on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 10:47:53 PM EST

Read your history. Australia (and the US even more) funded and armed Suharto for over 25 years. Indonesia would not have been able to slaughter people in Timor (and incidentally take control of all that lovely oil and gas) without their help. Now maybe they'd get into a spat over the oil, but an armed invasion?
--

??? "A man of imagination among scholars feels like a sodomite at a convention of proctologists." -- Paul West


[ Parent ]
Armed invasion? (2.60 / 5) (#27)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 08:16:03 AM EST

Excuse me? In what way was it an invasion?!? Australia sent troops in as a peacekeeping force (in fact we led the U.N.) due to militias who were trying to derail the independence movement.

Perhaps you should read up on recent history? Oh, incidently, Australia never stole any oil. We are currently in negotiations over the borders that each nation controls, and Indonesia would like a fairer share because this gives them more chance to get more oil. Again, please get your facts straight.

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Armed Invasion.... (none / 2) (#60)
by Sunflower on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 07:57:34 PM EST

I think that if you read the parent post more carefully it was suggesting that Indonesia was unlikely to conduct an armed invasion of Australia, especially over East Timor, due to the fact that Australia spent most of the last 25 years propping up the rather nasty Indonesian domination of East Timor.

This was primarily so that Indonesia and Australia could take the lion's share of East Timor's oil, in violation of international norms.

I'm not denying that Australia has played a positive role in peacekeeping in East Timor, but realistically this is nothing compared to the help and international support they gave the Indonesian regime prior to this. See this or this for example.

[ Parent ]

Hey dude... (none / 2) (#74)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 02:13:08 AM EST

...he was reciting from memory some pamphlet he read on campus once. And anyway, he probably graduated a few years ago, so you can't really expect him to stay up on the latest news from Timor.
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[ Parent ]

WW3 (none / 1) (#20)
by NaCh0 on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 02:35:33 AM EST

Muslims, in their conquest for a muslim state, are trying to create world war 3 against any who disagree.

--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
[ Parent ]
They're too late! (3.00 / 2) (#29)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 08:21:19 AM EST

The U.S. beat them to it.

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
That's not World War Three (none / 3) (#38)
by glor on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 02:46:39 PM EST

It's the World War On Terror.  Sheesh.  Who's got their facts wrong now?

--
Disclaimer: I am not the most intelligent kuron.
[ Parent ]

Oh, sorry, my mistake. (none / 0) (#57)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 06:42:29 PM EST

I thought it was the War on Terror Where We Morally Justify Torture. Evidently I was wrong.

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
As opposed to? (none / 0) (#75)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 02:14:35 AM EST

The peaceful sit-in to convince Islamic supremists to cut the darn explosions out?
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[ Parent ]

You condone torture? (none / 0) (#85)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 07:17:18 AM EST

Want to clarify that comment?

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
Clarification... (none / 0) (#87)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 09:08:30 AM EST

...I would turn the question to you: what does torture have to do with the war on terror? And if the nexus is unacceptable, what is your proposed alternative solution to Islamic crazy-eyed killas?
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[ Parent ]

Sure (none / 0) (#89)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 09:43:38 AM EST

I would have waited for the final Blix report, then I would have taken it to the U.N. before invading Iraq. I would have listened to the experts on the evidence that Iraq had WMDs. Or rather didn't have capabilities.

Take for instance the aluminium tubes found that were apparently used for nuclear weapons, it turns out this was a key part of the "evidence" shown to the U.N. supporting the theory that Iraq had WMDs - even though the U.S.'s own experts in uranium enrichment at the US Department of Energy were skeptical about them. Four Corners did a program about this called Spinning the Tubes, check it out if you don't believe me.

No, I wouldn't have gone to war in Iraq. Those "Islamic crazy-eyed killas" (which is a gigantic stereotype if I've ever heard one) might be in Iraq, but then again they're just as crazy in Indonesia, and I don't see the U.S. invading them. Now Afghanistan is another matter. That is a place where the U.S. was fully justified in going to war. Funnily enough, we don't hear much about this part of the world anymore - it's all about Iraq now.

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Counterpoints. (2.50 / 2) (#96)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 03:28:56 PM EST

1. The Blix report? The UN? How many deadlines had passed, unenforced, as of the start of the Iraq invasion? How can anyone seriously consider the UN an appropriate (even legitimate) venue for enforcing its *own* mandates? And the book is not closed on the presence of WMDs in Iraq. The UN gave Saddam plenty of time to move his stock to Syria, or even *shudder* to European nations (including those on the security council) who had been subsidizing his reign for so many decades.

2. As I have said so countless many times before, the nexus between the invasion of Iraq and the war on terror is easy to see if you are looking. Its is simply to establish a region squarely in the center of the Middle East, in a place where secular government has some popular acceptance (albeit in the most perverse of forms), in a place where the leadership is an unpopular dictatorship, in order to create: (a) a "fly paper" venue for terrorist organizations whose stated goal is to clash with Americans, and (b) a state whose eventual success as a democracy with friendly US relations will generate considerable envy among the hoi polloi of its neighbors.

3. Calling Islamic fundamentalist radical supremists "Islamic crazy-eyed killas" hardly seems like a stereotype to me. Of course, your kneejerk sensitivities interpret any phrasing that includes a "protected category" immediately connotes a racist overeneralization. Never mind the fact that bloodthirsty religious mobs are rapidly the norm in (as you say) many parts of the world. And guess what?! It's not GWB's fault. It's not my fault. It's not your fault. It's by *their* wilfull volition that they choose rage and hatred as the means to their inhumane ends.

4. You don't hear about Afghanistan because the newspapers lost interest in it. I read about it every day. The news is out there, if you want to find it. Also, the fact that you would even make the claim that Afghanistan has fallen from the headlines after a week and a half of news about arrests and raids in Pakistan's border tells me something about the depth of your knowledge of the situation.
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[ Parent ]

Sorry... (none / 1) (#102)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 05:34:04 PM EST

...that was barely coherent. Just reread it. I hope get the gist, minus the poor spelling an vitriol. ;-)
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[ Parent ]

democracy in the Middle East... (none / 1) (#119)
by the sixth replicant on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 06:58:48 AM EST

...I thought we had democracy in Kuwait. Wasn't that the whole point of Gulf War I?

Ciao

[ Parent ]

where to begin? (none / 0) (#205)
by kromagg on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 09:05:51 AM EST

My god this post is so shock full of stupidity I'm not sure where to start.

1. Well duh, diplomacy is always a matter of give and take. Still, nobody in their right mind would mind waiting another 6 months or so to save a couple of 1000 lives.

And might I add that the US also funded Saddam's rise to power. The european nations had little to do with it as usual.

2. So you knowingly support objecting the iraqi people to continuing terrorist attack? (flypaper theorem) That is immoral of its own. And your theory that this state will be succesfull when the democracy is forced upon the people by an outside regime is at best questionable. I cannot recall many examples in history where this happened. Maybe Italy, but I doubt the italians hated their invaders as much as the iraqis do.

3. The fact is that it is not really relevant whether their islamic or not. Once you get that through your thick head perhaps we'll talk.

I'm too tired of reading that post to actually add anything else. It is scary to know that people like you are running the US government, basing their policy on nothing more than rumours and what they believe is true, not what is shown to be the truth.

[ Parent ]

Nothing... (none / 1) (#73)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 02:11:21 AM EST

...except that Australia includes non-Muslims, which makes them a default enemy to an increasingly mainstream doctrine of Islamic cultures. And, yes, your question *is* chock full of wilfull ignorance. HTH.
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[ Parent ]

India (none / 2) (#21)
by grumbuskin on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 03:37:32 AM EST

My understanding is that Australia's planning assumes India as a potential threat.

[ Parent ]
why would they (none / 1) (#72)
by m a r c on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 01:26:34 AM EST

all our call centre jobs are going to them... they can't afford the unemployment
I got a dog and named him "Stay". Now, I go "Come here, Stay!". After a while, the dog went insane and wouldn't move at all.
[ Parent ]
India (none / 0) (#98)
by CymruAmByth on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 05:01:04 PM EST

I would guess it's historical. During the Cold War India was always aligned with Russia, and is still on good terms with Russia, as well as having a vaguely communist government / economy

[ Parent ]
India (none / 0) (#188)
by freestylefiend on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 01:28:45 PM EST

...was Non-Aligned.

[ Parent ]
It would have to be a state that (none / 2) (#66)
by richarj on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 09:55:53 PM EST

Could shoot long range missles at us. There are only two countries in the world that have the resources to actually invade Australia (USA and China). No one else could keep up a supply line against our current defence force.

There is no list of actual threats only potential threats, China, India and Pakistan maybe



"if you are uncool, don't worry, K5 is still the place for you!" -- rusty
[ Parent ]
Flawed "Realist" assumptions (2.57 / 7) (#4)
by danharan on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 02:13:06 PM EST

The primary focus of any nation-state's military force is to ensure the nation's sovereignty and independence from external martial coercion. This requirement demands that a military force be able to project force over the geographic approaches to the nation state.
I'd argue that that's the wrong focus to have, and the root cause for the balloonning military budgets. The primary focus of the military, like any bureaucracy, is to maintain and consolidate its power (budget, prestige, power).

So let's say a foreign army actually reaches Australian soil. Why are they there in the first place? There must be some strategic objective that was more valuable than the cost to invade.

The answer is (simply) to deny the objective and increase the invasion cost. Suppose Australia's Uranium mines were what an invader was after: just like Iraqi are bombing the shit out of their oil infrastructure, warn invaders that mining equipment will be sabotaged and miners mysteriously disappear.

Especially if announced well in advance, a person would have to be less intelligent than Bush to proceed with an invasion- and then you just keep increasing the costs of invasion. Non-lethal wounds take out of commission many people for each wounded and create less ill-will... and fraternization can convince some to desert.

Merely projecting force over the geographical approaches to your nation is a losing battle, especially with a country the size of Australia. Buying big weapons is inelegant and therefore expensive and ineffective.

You ought to worry about who would invade (do you folks really have enemies?), and what they might want when they get there- as well as how to make it so costly they wouldn't dare such a venture.

Um, nope (3.00 / 5) (#26)
by GenerationY on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 07:13:34 AM EST

Come off it.

By the time you are invaded it is far, far too late. Furthermore, the notion that the main form external coercion would take is the direct threat of invasion seems to be a rather 17th century notion. Finally, you forget that Australia has commitments around the world, just like many other leading industrial nations. For this it requires the capabilities a 4th generation fighter would offer.

Your approach to defence is like telling women the best way to deal with the threat of rape is to put on weight and try to be ugly.

[ Parent ]

well, the same thing likely applies (none / 0) (#43)
by CAIMLAS on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 03:45:46 PM EST

if you can't afford the guns, then being seen as a worthless asset probably is the next best preventative measure.
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
[ Parent ]

Australia can afford the guns (none / 1) (#45)
by GenerationY on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 04:03:13 PM EST

and secondly, it is very friendly with at least a couple of people who have lots (the USA and UK; Australia is commonly referenced as the USA's second greatest ally after the UK).

I must say I find the line of thinking being described here as frighteningly weak. I can't think of a single legitimate application of it outside very short-term tactical setting (e.g., as a form of camoflage). Advocating a form of a self-harm to prevent being attacked is crazy.

[ Parent ]

The populace isn't really armed to the teeth in AU (none / 0) (#79)
by prolixity on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 03:24:56 AM EST

Not that they can't afford it, but Gun Control legislation has rendered their populace sitting ducks.  

How can they fight a guerrilla war when they can't even legally own handguns?
Bah!
[ Parent ]

Australian Gun Control (none / 0) (#82)
by cam on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 03:47:15 AM EST

The State legislation for gun control in Australia is no worse than the gun control legislation in Maryland, USA. Guns are plentiful and common in the rural area's but not in the cities.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

rape? (none / 0) (#50)
by danharan on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 05:12:23 PM EST

Your metaphor is very revealing of the gendered lenses through which "realist" foreign policy analysts view military affairs. I dare say today's defense is so inappropriate to the real threats that we're going to keep "taking it up the ass" (homophobia usually accompanies such gendered views).

By the time you are invaded it is far, far too late. Furthermore, the notion that the main form external coercion would take is the direct threat of invasion seems to be a rather 17th century notion.
Too late for what?

And you are quite right... direct invasion is quite an outdated idea. Which only reinforces the question: why then are your enemies (btw, who are you pissing off?) approaching your territory?

The simple fact is that the enemy is already on your territory, and stopping further attacks as they are approaching is also too late.

We are facing the limits of conventional military thinking in the face of asymmetrical warfare.

[ Parent ]

I'm sorry (none / 1) (#52)
by GenerationY on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 05:30:14 PM EST

I can't reply to this as it makes no sense to me.
I see a bit of 1970s feminist deconstruction (which is nothing but empty rhetoric, don't think I'm so young that I haven't seen it all before) followed by a series of non-sequiturs. The final comment on assymetric warfare is clearly a tautology and as such impossible to question or indeed sensibly discuss.

In the face of this I'm afraid I just can't help; can you try and rephrase or something?


[ Parent ]

re:I'm sorry (none / 0) (#62)
by danharan on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 08:29:32 PM EST

To my knowledge, that bit of feminist deconstruction of IR only got published much later- 90's rather than 1970's. In Ottawa FP analysts talk about Canada's feminine role compared to the US's stance- but they're not feminists... they're just using the metaphor, as you did. Funny, that.

I'm amused you see the last statement as a tautology. The implications of such a statement are exactly what I'm driving at, although you'll have to admit that most people in Washington wouldn't admit or agree to it. Else why would they respond to terrorist attacks with traditional military means that only made the problem worse? Has anyone there clued in to the fact that their full-spectrum dominance made terrorist attacks the only viable attack type?

My statements might not sound like non-sequiturs if you understood my main point... and it's hard to explain in a way that makes sense to you since you won't even answer the three questions I asked in my previous post. Oh, well.

[ Parent ]

No he's right... (none / 0) (#77)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 02:21:04 AM EST

...you don't make a bit of sense, and you can't write worth a damn. Even the most liberal attempt at coaxing meaning out of your comment yields a bunch of flase starts: (a) against "realism", (b) against gender discrimination, (c) against homophobia, and (d) against the idea that warfare is still symmetric. Taken all together, you've made no point at all.
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[ Parent ]

You didn't understand? (none / 0) (#99)
by Insaa on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 05:08:31 PM EST

Um, okay. I could just flag you off as being stupid for not understanding his question sentence/paragraph construction... but I wont.

I am far more interested in understanding why you think that he has done a poor job of asking his three questions.

[ Parent ]

Yeah... (none / 0) (#138)
by SPYvSPY on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 11:15:33 AM EST

...I must be a real idiot for not being able to parse such compendious prose as:

And you are quite right... direct invasion is quite an outdated idea. Which only reinforces the question: why then are your enemies (btw, who are you pissing off?) approaching your territory?

Seriously, though, I told you that I think I managed to cull his points out of the insanely poor grammar and diction, but I still don't see how gender discrimination + anti-"realism" + homophobia + observations on assymetric warfare = anything sensible at all.
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[ Parent ]

Big weapons (3.00 / 3) (#34)
by cam on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 09:36:22 AM EST

So let's say a foreign army actually reaches Australian soil. Why are they there in the first place?

Japan in 1942 had no intention of invading Australia. They did not have troop numbers to do it. Their target was New Caledonia so they could cut off Australian and American lines of communication and logisitical lines. Most strikes against Java, Irian Jira and New Guinea were done from Australian bases in the Northern Territory by long range strike aircraft. Back then, it was the Beaufighter.

Merely projecting force over the geographical approaches to your nation is a losing battle, especially with a country the size of Australia. Buying big weapons is inelegant and therefore expensive and ineffective.

A force which seeks to coerce Australia through martial forces has three choices. Come via the Indian Ocean, come through Java and the Timor Sea, or through the Coral Sea to the eastern freeboard. Stopping an aggressor in all three situations requires big weaponry with big strike power and great range.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

re: big weapons (none / 0) (#51)
by danharan on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 05:21:34 PM EST

Japan in 1942 had no intention of invading Australia. They did not have troop numbers to do it. Their target was New Caledonia so they could cut off Australian and American lines of communication and logisitical lines.
Right. And what would an invader seek today?

As for the rest of your post, I see no argument there. Yes, stopping aggressors from those 3 directions would require big, expensive weaponry with great range. I'm just arguing the cost-effectiveness and the need to stop them at that stage.

Once the aggressors get to your territory (assuming they aren't already there!), what will they want? Or if they are not seeking an invasion, what would they approach for? I bet we can find a cost-effective way to make pursuing such a goal strategically disastrous at a fraction of the billions the big artillery would cost.

[ Parent ]

Oil (none / 0) (#59)
by cam on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 07:10:40 PM EST

Right. And what would an invader seek today?

Most likely the same thing the Japanese wanted in 1942, Javanese and Timorese oil.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Oil (none / 0) (#61)
by danharan on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 08:16:30 PM EST

Right. And what would an invader seek today?
Most likely the same thing the Japanese wanted in 1942, Javanese and Timorese oil.
If they want such physical resources, they'll need to occupy a chunk of your territory.

Making that very expensive for them is possible. A systematic strategy of wounding soldiers (NOT killing, just wounding) can have a very demoralizing and destabilizing effect. Every wounded soldier needs medical care and has to be taken out of the theater of operations.

The cost to the invader can be seen not only militarily, but also in political and economic terms. Regional partnerships can increase the pressure on any misbehaving country, and any invader will surely require imports from other allies that could be embargoed. This requires allies- however you make the same assumption for sharing development costs.

To that, add sabotage. Why would any invader that knew you had plans to make all the oil infrastructure inoperable proceed with their plans? The cost would be high, with no discernible benefit. Consider how the US expected some oil revenues from Iraq... and that's not necessarily a campaign that had been organized prior to the invasion- a properly designed sabotage plan could make it easy to rebuild after the enemy's defeat (and retreat)- destroying key parts of various pieces of infrastructure at any stage of oil production from extraction through refinement and distribution.

The cost of sabotage is in millions rather than billions, and includes preparation and publicizing of your plan (an actual invasion similarly increases costs with both our scenarios). Sabotage plans can be made for every single strategic asset.

This is why it seems to me we need to be very careful to define the strategic environment- there are likely very cost-effective defenses we are not  even considering.

[ Parent ]

I will take this at face value (none / 0) (#63)
by cam on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 08:44:07 PM EST

If they want such physical resources, they'll need to occupy a chunk of your territory.

The crude oil the Japanese wanted was in Java, not Australia. Japan didn't need to invade Australia to have it, they only had to isolate Australia from the US, so US munitions couldnt bolster Australia so that Au/US forces could use Australia as a jumping off point. When the US Marines and Navy had cut off the middle pacific in 1943, the largest component of the Japanese Navy was still in Java, entirely cut off from Japan by the USN. They were there as that was where the oil was.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

java (none / 0) (#67)
by danharan on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 10:15:01 PM EST

Hey, sorry if I don't know WW2 stuff for down-under.

I'm kind of puzzled though... Would the equipment you are proposing help in this scenario, and if so how?

And finally, shouldn't the principal responsibility to defend Java be someone else, like say, Indonesia?

[ Parent ]

Indonesia (none / 1) (#129)
by cam on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 10:10:55 AM EST

And finally, shouldn't the principal responsibility to defend Java be someone else, like say, Indonesia?

The biggest danger Indonesia poses to Australia is instability through balkanization. East Timor has already split off, the Indonesia government has put down seccessionists in Aceh and Irian Jira has also had its share of issues. During Suharto's rein which only ended in 1998, KOPASSUS was used to put down any civil uprisings.

Since Indonesia has moved to democracy it is making great strides but is still at risk of instability by provinces breaking away and the government putting them down with the military. A strong Australian deterrence and guarantee of stability regionally will help Indonesia continue on the path of democratic and economic reform.

It will stop the temptations of old expansionist generals in Indonesia who annexed East Timor, Irian Jiri and conducted campaigns against Malaysia. It will also provide a breathing space and umbrella for democrats in Indonesia who want to put the military firmly under civil control. If there is a militant coup it wont go anywhere if Australia has a tonne of projection that guarantees Indonesia wont get away with any expansionist policies.

Indonesia is going great but it needs breathing space and regional stability, both security and economic to continue. Personally I think Australia should enter a Free Trade Agreement with Indonesia to ensure that it continues to grow economically and prosper. That will be as stabilizing as a strong regional force.

As to Australia defending Indonesia, any aggressor to Australia is going to have to come through Indonesia and will launch their project from Java and PNG. In World War II Australia tried to help defend what was then the Dutch East Indies and the oil there.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

We tried that once too (none / 0) (#131)
by zantispam on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 10:34:08 AM EST

If there is a militant coup it wont go anywhere if Australia has a tonne of projection that guarantees Indonesia wont get away with any expansionist policies.

Korea.

Vietnam.

You still need kids on the ground, mate.  The only way to really accomplish that is with close in air support.  That can only be reliably projected by a carrier.

Better write up this time.  Thanks.


Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]

Your not the only one (none / 0) (#134)
by cam on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 11:00:12 AM EST

Korea. Vietnam.

Remember that until 1972 Papua New Guinea was an Australian territory and after Indonesia annexed Dutch New Guinea (with international approval I might add) which is modern day Irian Jira, Australia shared a border with Indonesia. Also during the mid-60's while Australia was operating in Vietnam, there was the "Indonesian Confrontation" [Konfrontasi] where Indonesia constantly probed the borders of Thailand, Malaysia and Borneo. Australia rotated infantry, special forces as well as air and naval assets through that period.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

nice explanation, thanks (none / 0) (#152)
by danharan on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 06:28:43 PM EST

My only would be that a strong projection risks the run of a military escalation, running the risk of increasing the power of the Indonesian military.

Similarly, defensive postures and regional cooperation could/should marginalize Indonesia's military apparatus, and ensure it can't get away with expansionist policies.

So by aggressor to Australia - if that country is to pass by Indonesia first - are we simply talking about China? Is there any other country that could project enough force to occupy both countries?

[ Parent ]

The US could (none / 0) (#169)
by cam on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 09:36:24 AM EST

My only would be that a strong projection risks the run of a military escalation, running the risk of increasing the power of the Indonesian military.

Many think there is an arms race in Asia anyway. Partly due to North Korea, partly due to China modernising and partly due to Australia getting new equipment. Australia has recently bought Abrams, thrown their hat in with the JSF and the navy know wants to 27,000 tonne assult landing ships. Indonesia is buying Su27's and Su-35's probably because Australia is getting the JSF, plus China is modernising its force, Japan is concerned about North Korea etc. So there is an arms race on now.

Similarly, defensive postures and regional cooperation could/should marginalize Indonesia's military apparatus, and ensure it can't get away with expansionist policies.

Yes. Indonesia has moved to democracy rather than dictatorship so the hope is there. But it runs the risk of balkanization and democracy is young, there is always the possibility of military coup. Australia's best bet is to help Indonesia prosper. It wont worry about land then if people are getting wealthy.

So by aggressor to Australia - if that country is to pass by Indonesia first - are we simply talking about China? Is there any other country that could project enough force to occupy both countries?

The US is the only one that could do it. If the US put six or seven carriers of Australia, it could crush the ADF. China could project into Indonesia but wouldnt get past there, they only have about 70 modern fighters, the rest are short range Migs from the 1960's. The greatest danger there would be running out of missiles. If China did get to Indonesia it would exhaust its projection power in doing so.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Subs. (none / 1) (#217)
by Jacques Chester on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 03:51:28 AM EST

I think I've said elsewhere than in line with a defensive force structure, Australia should spam submarines and anti-air frigattes and destroyers. While it'd also be nice to have F35 mini-carriers, the temptation would be too great to go on expeditions with them.

As for the rest of the Navy, they're practically doing nothing but coastguard work anyhow. Roll 'em into Customs.



--
Well now. We seem to be temporarily out of sigs here at the sig factory. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
[ Parent ]
Subs and P3C's (none / 0) (#224)
by cam on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 08:57:05 AM EST

I think the attack subs and P3C's are important. If we are going to be doing sea lifting to the pacific islands then the transport ships have to be defended, though a 54 knot Cat like the Jervis Bay would leave the Frigates loping behind.

While it'd also be nice to have F35 mini-carriers, the temptation would be too great to go on expeditions with them.

Incat developed a catamaran aircraft-carrier. A fast platform for the VSTOL JSF and Helicopters. It could go out into the middle of the Pacific, but would be fine for around the South Pacific.

I dont understand how Australia gets away with having the Navy do Coast Guard work. A 400 million dollar frigate picking refugees out of the water? Great use of an investment and resource there.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Addendum (none / 0) (#225)
by cam on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 08:58:19 AM EST

It *couldnt* go out into the middle of the Pacific, but would be fine for around the South Pacific.
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]
Long-term plans (none / 1) (#264)
by Rich0 on Thu Aug 26, 2004 at 07:55:00 AM EST

To that, add sabotage. Why would any invader that knew you had plans to make all the oil infrastructure inoperable proceed with their plans? The cost would be high, with no discernible benefit.

If somebody invaded Java/Austrailia, it wouldn't be for the reason that the US invaded Iraq/Afganistan/wherever.  In those wars the US just wanted to get rid of some particular person or government, and get out.  The US obviously didn't invade Iraq to take its oil - we'd need to be there for a decade to pay for the war.  

When you want to sieze strategic assets like oil fields and arable land (if you have an expanding population you need to give them someplace to live, after all), you're in it for the long haul.  Japan didn't invade Java because it needed to borrow a few tankers full of oil.  

Historically the reason that armies invade (other than just in retribution for an attack) is to acquire the territory permenantly.  In the short term the locals are used for labor, in the long therm they are either integrated into the new society, or they are displaced/genocided.  

So, merely threatening to blow up some wells doesn't make a big difference.  They are invading for the long haul - if it takes them a few years to start making money then that is just part of the cost of invading.

Remember, over the long term the discounted value of any current expense is almost nothing.  If a government had to spend a billion dollars to gain a million a year in income, it would actually pay off at some point.  This is the kind of math that makes invasions work out.

Also - keep in mind that half the time the people invading you are nuts to begin with.  I'm not sure that Warren Buffet was on the Japanese/German empire planning team weighing the differential cost/benefits ratios of taking Iwo Jima vs the Aleutians.

[ Parent ]

The best place to fight a war (3.00 / 3) (#69)
by wiredog on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 10:27:57 PM EST

is on someone else's real estate. Why fight them on the beaches of Australia, with the resulting damage to Australia, when you can ensure that it is Jakarta rather than Sydney that gets flattened?

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
+1 This is why I read kuro5hin (1.80 / 5) (#9)
by siberian on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 04:28:47 PM EST

Random articles, great content, good data and makes a point. Thanks for posting something that was not total drivel! Front page this one!

Defence Contractor Propaganda (none / 1) (#16)
by bjlhct on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 10:23:58 PM EST

  1. How about some cost/benefit comparison to existing military technology? I bet this pork barrel will come out on the bottom.
  2. Manned fighter planes are now inferior to remotely piloted ones. Technology like UWB and mesh networks can make the connections virtually unjammable. Why pour money into a dead end?
  3. Why the hell does Australia need to project over to Indonesia? So its bombers can safely take out fishermen?
  4. Who the hell wants to invade Australia anyway? China? China has already clearly told us that if they're gonna attack some place, it'll be Taiwan. By the time anybody is going to be seriously considering invading Australia, these fighters will be entirely obsolete.
  5. In fact, these fighters are kind of obsolete anyway, what with nuclear weapons.
  6. Why should we believe that the budget is accurate, given the history of high-tech new fighter planes?


*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
Idiot (none / 3) (#23)
by trhurler on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 05:45:23 AM EST

First of all, any connection is trivially jammable if you know where one endpoint is. No technology will ever solve that. Yes, you can avoid jamming the control endpoint. There is only one "pointy" endpoint, and it CAN be jammed, easily. Even with 1930s technology.

Second, what the fuck are you on about? Where is the UAV that has even a tenth the strike capabilities of the F117? Oh, there is none? Then shut your fucking yap.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Wrong and irrelevant, trhurler sir. (3.00 / 2) (#70)
by bjlhct on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 11:15:51 PM EST

Your comment about jamming is entirely wrong. The power requirements of jamming UWB, as you don't know when the signal will occur, would take an enormous amount of power, more than enough to make this impractical. Directional systems, such as IR laser and adaptive antenna arrays cannot be jammed except from the correct direction. Your "point" comment is highly illogical.

Where is the UAV designed to be a combat plane? All UAVs now deployed were at least originally designed for scouting. Nevertheless, there has been a lot of research on how to make one by Lockheed and Boeing. This UAV does not exist now, but neither does the proposed Austral-Asian Strike Fighter.

Idiot yourself, Mr. trhurler.


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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

Two things (none / 1) (#76)
by trhurler on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 02:15:19 AM EST

First of all, the Boeing/Lockheed proposals all involve an aircraft specifically designed to be used only in limited circumstances, because they KNOW the control capability can be lost due to jamming or other problems. It is NOT intended to be a primary strike fighter, and everyone involved is quite adamant about that fact, and about the fact that with existing technology, it is impossible to duplicate the benefits of a manned fighter without the pilot.

Second, about jamming. Directional transmitters are not used in controls for things like this, for several reasons, at least one of which should be blatantly obvious to even the stupidest person. Line of sight transmitters are even less popular. As for power requirements, you don't know what you're talking about; operating a spikes and noise transmitter at a few thousand watts on a given set of frequencies is trivial. Ultra wide band transmission makes it less trivial, but the problem is, while people pretend otherwise, in reality you only have to knock out a decent selection of frequencies to render the incoming signal garbled enough that it cannot be trusted. Contrary to what you might believe, systems that carry large amounts of dangerous ordnance generally do not pull the trigger without some positive confirmation, and they're pretty picky about what that confirmation consists of. No, you can't do this with the 200 watt service a typical suburban home has, but a very ordinary light industrial service can supply more than enough power. Especially if you only need to defend certain areas, and you have a way to determine if an aircraft is in a given area at a given time.

The reason the US military's only armed UAV was tested in Afghanistan is that it was assumed(generally speaking, a safe assumption I think,) that the opposition would not have the sophistication or the resources to counter it. You will notice that it had limited or no use in Iraq, and that there really isn't much talk of using it anywhere else. The idea has been tested, and found to work, provided the enemy is of the "cave dwelling AK grunt" variety. Nobody much wants to test it beyond that just yet, for a very good reason:)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Still Wrong, Mr. trhurler, very wrong indeed. (none / 1) (#83)
by bjlhct on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 04:40:20 AM EST

I note that your main objection to combat UAVs is jamming.

Yes, you can jam UWB, though it is not easy. However, doing directional communications intelligently means that there is no line-of-sight problem. Mesh networks mean you only need to be able to see a friendly UAV or two. Software defined radio with antenna arrays means that you can separate out the jammers and each plane with just one antenna that need not move around either. Using UWB in conjunction with the above gives a nigh-unjammable communication system.

Lockheed et. al. may not be so thorough, knowing that the US military caring is unlikely. That does not make such a system less practical.

Spread your falsehoods elsewhere, trhurler sir.


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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

Mesh networks, etc (none / 0) (#104)
by trhurler on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 05:46:44 PM EST

The US developed the mesh concept for the battlefield. We're going about it VERY SLOWLY. You know why? Because it is not a very redundant system in practice. Oh, you only need one or two UAVs with line of sight. Nice for you. If you actually deploy a whole cloud of the things all over the place, that's really redundant and attack-resistant. BUT, if as any real nation would(due to cost) you rely on this mesh network less as a mesh and more as a chain, then you now have a serious problem. Until we can solve those problems, the concept is not all that practical.

As for directional communications, if it isn't line of sight, it can be jammed. If it IS line of sight, it isn't practical. This horseshit about separating the jammers sounds to me like you're a victim of simulation syndrome. In the real world, communications difficulties can arise even without jamming. Add in jamming(not even enough to completely block a signal - just enough to make it unreliable,) and you've made an entire weapons system unreliable. And remember, in the US military, they don't get to assume there's a big foriegn power running the show that'll make sure all the constraints your stuff needs are met in most cases. The enemy has to be presumed to be as well equipped as you, as sophisticated, and as dedicated. This is a world in which the cost of a radio transmitter, a weather balloon, and some modern high density batteries is essentially zero. A world in which the computers the military relies on already fail to perform as expected an alarming percentage of the time. A world in which supplementing your air force with drones is a good idea, and in which replacing it with them is worse than foolhardy.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Not So (none / 0) (#111)
by bjlhct on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 12:47:46 AM EST

Effective UAV systems can be deployed in such clouds. I am not responsible for the stupidity of militaries.

Directional communications do not need to be line of sight to be difficult to jam. Time reversed signal processing gives point-to-point without line of sight.

Adding in effective jamming would make the system unreliable. This is true. But such jamming is still impractical.

Your lies annoy me, Mr. trhurler.


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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

Look (none / 0) (#115)
by trhurler on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 03:31:12 AM EST

First of all, no signal processing can change the nature of a transmission - it is either a line of sight arrangement(such as a laser,) a directional arrangement(many, many RF implementations,) which can be partly or wholely obstructed and still work, or an omnidirectional arrangement. If it is not line of sight, then a jammer does not need to be in the path of a beam to disrupt it, and if it is, then the jammer DOES need to be there(and simply being there is enough.) I don't know what your definition of "point to point" is, but if it is implemented using an RF transmission, then jamming it won't be tough. If you can transmit across a spread spectrum, I can jam it - in fact, jamming is a lot easier, because the equipment can be a lot cruder.

As for deploying UAVs in clouds, exactly where is the budget for this? The things cost well upwards of a million dollars apiece. To be an effective defense, your cloud has to extend over most of the area defended at any given time, and has to have enough density to be attack resistant. Do the math on the size of, say, Australia or the United States and try to get a rough idea of how many of these UAVs you're talking about. Then multiple by one million, which is a VERY conservative price(to get the capabilities of a modern fighter jet, which you'd need to totally replace manned fighters, the price probably goes up another two orders of magnitude, but ignore that for now.) It will IMMEDIATELY be obvious that you're talking out your small end, and we haven't even talked about arming or fueling all these aircraft.

Finally, about the impracticality of jamming: I estimate the electronics cost of a jammer that can put out a hundred thousand watts across a huge spectrum to be perhaps a few tens of thousands of dollars, if you mass produce them. A jammer of that power would basically eliminate all RF communications inside an area at least a few miles square, and most RF communications in an area at least an order of magnitude larger, and would disrupt communications sporadically at distances as large as a few hundred miles from its point of origin. For the price of one modern fighter jet, you could defend every place of strategic significance in the continental United States, for example, from any and all aircraft relying on RF signals for flight controls, fire control, and so on. Granted, turning all of these on would strain the power grid, but any given jammer would probably require no more power than a typical large corporate campus, so the problem is not insurmountable. Of course, you lose your OWN RF communications while doing this, but that might be a small price to pay for air superiority, particularly since once you destroy the now useless UAVs, you can turn the jammers off.

The reason jamming is regarded as impractical is mostly doctrinal rather than technical. It does have a number of operational drawbacks. BUT, against an enemy so reliant on RF communications, it is an obvious win. (In fact, letting your opponent attack and then using a high altitude nuclear burst or two(as needed) to EMP his mesh outside your own airspace thereby totally fucking over his entire air force would be a sweet plan, and requires NO technology not known to be practical.)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Down to Straight Up Wrong (none / 0) (#145)
by bjlhct on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 02:12:58 PM EST

If you looked up the technology I am noting (as you clearly do not understand it) you would see that your "line of sight" dichotomy is entirely wrong.

It takes that many planes to do real damage and not just "pinpricks."

High-power jammers would not jam the system I described. If they were used, they would merely send a message to all of the planes that HEY I'M A JAMMER COME BOMB ME OR SOMETHING I AM RIGHT HERE which is something that the planes can even do autonomously.

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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

Two things (none / 0) (#150)
by trhurler on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 03:14:16 PM EST

First of all, it is trivial to defend jammers with both a conventional air force(which would have easy pickings since your aircraft would be mindlessly seeking out the jammers,) and with ground based missiles, and even if you fail now and again, who cares? Jammers are CHEAP, so keep a few around.

Second, the rest of your post makes no sense. Signal processing is not a modification of the way a signal is transmitted, and the US military is quite capable of doing real damage with a lot fewer planes than your system would require.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
No. (none / 0) (#153)
by bjlhct on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 07:57:38 PM EST

Not planes mindlessly seeking, but radiation seeking bombs.

I am not describing just signal processing.

The US military only claims to be able to do this, and uses bigger planes than these.


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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

Hmm (none / 0) (#194)
by trhurler on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 03:14:31 PM EST

First of all, your radiation seeking bomb will have a price tag higher than the equipment you're using it against. That's bad. Second, it will be fairly big, and if it is indeed a guided bomb rather than a missile, rather slow. It will have limited manueverability, so making portable jammers and using them creatively in conjunction with stationary ones will probably result in it hitting an empty farm field. Turn it into a missile, and now it produces heat, and is an easy target for heat seeking missiles. Make it fast enough or smart enough or both to outrun those, and now it is so expensive that I can beat you by just building more jammers than you can afford to destroy. Economics is not on your side here, chief.

As for the US military and its capabilities, let's just say I'll take their word(the number one experts on warfare in the world by far,) over yours(lots of pie in sky daydreaming, zero experience, zero TESTS even, let alone any actual operational use.) Their capabilities are well beyond what other nations DREAM of having if they could spend ten times as much on their militaries. So really, who the fuck are you anyway, pretending you know better than them what they're capable of?:)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
If you really cared... (none / 0) (#195)
by bjlhct on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 05:27:46 PM EST

You'd look up the technology I'm noting and see that using it together like I suggest makes for a virtually unjammable communications system that does not require line-of-sight. I'm not going to bother trying to convince you more.

There is more knowledge of the US military IN the US military than in me - of course - but unlike most of the officials who give the public information about the military, I am an incompetent and clueless pathological liar.


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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

*not* (none / 0) (#196)
by bjlhct on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 05:29:29 PM EST

There is more knowledge of the US military IN the US military than in me - of course - but unlike most of the officials who give the public information about the military, I am NOT an incompetent and clueless pathological liar.

Also unlike them, I do not have a virtually unlimited supply of people to check information given out for typos. ;-)

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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

Well (none / 0) (#203)
by trhurler on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 04:16:02 AM EST

First of all, if you really want me to look up this technology, then please provide some links; googling on the vague terms you've provided would be worse than useless, and I'm not interested in spending hours looking for something you already know how to find. That said, a hundred thousand watt deliberately non-specific white noise source will prevent ANY RF communication in a very large area, so I'm pretty sure you're mistaken.

Second, I happen to know quite a lot about the military, and I have friends in it. There's a ton of good publicly available info if you know where to look - I suggest avoiding CNN if you can, but Jane's, FAS, and a number of other good sources exist for all kinds of information. A surprising number of military technologies can be read up on in detail by downloading PDFs from manufacturer web sites or just reading HTML on the sites. Military web sites contain some stuff that's... ah, an edited version of the truth, but there's also lots of solid information there. All this said, while my friends are not spokesmen, they do talk to members of the public about military affairs, and they are hardly pathological liars. They are not clueless, and they are not incompetent. If Jimbob says the US air force can reach any point in the continental United States in less than fifteen minutes, I have to believe him, because he's probably been a part of the training and exercises to prove it. If Cornelius says his Patriot battery hit all but one of its targets, well, he was there ordering around the guys who pull the trigger, so I bet he might just know that for a fact. And so on.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Aw, but you mean. (none / 0) (#209)
by bjlhct on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 05:22:16 PM EST

I'm normally helpful, but, like the t-shirt sez, you hate me.

Hell, even wikipedia works for most of it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_radio
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phased_array
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UWB
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesh_network
http://www.nari.ee.ethz.ch/commth/pubs/p/habp2004

Pfft. I am not impressed.

If you says the missile defense test was a success, do you believe him? If Roger says a brigade can be deployed in Zimbabwe in 72 hours, do you believe him? If Tom says the Comanche is progress do you believe him? If John says that the JSF is cheap, do you believe him? If Shinseki says a deathtrap is progress, do you believe him? If Rumsfeld says Iraq has WMDs, do you believe him?


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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 0) (#232)
by trhurler on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 04:07:18 PM EST

If you says the missile defense test was a success, do you believe him? If Roger says a brigade can be deployed in Zimbabwe in 72 hours, do you believe him? If Tom says the Comanche is progress do you believe him? If John says that the JSF is cheap, do you believe him? If Shinseki says a deathtrap is progress, do you believe him? If Rumsfeld says Iraq has WMDs, do you believe him?
If you understand the missile defense test to have been a complete test of a complete system that's ready to go, then it was a failure. Of course, that wasn't what was tested, and according to the test plan, yes, the test succeeded.

A brigade in 72 hours? Probably less than that, actually, but it'd be a lightly armed brigade with little or no armor support, no artillery, and only whatever air cover was already in the region. In fact, I'd be unsurprised if they could field several of them in that time, but unless squad weapons are adequate for the mission, that isn't very useful. If you don't believe it, then you aren't paying attention.

The Comanche did make good progress by the standards they set - problem was, the standards were way too high, and the progress was going to take forever as a result. Comanche was a program way ahead of its time, and it showed in the development efforts. It should have been cancelled the moment Longbow was a success, but that's procurement for you.

JSF's problem is not expense. By present day fighter design standards, it IS cheap. But, it is also useless to half its intended customers, and that's really too bad.

As for Shinseki, I'm not aware of this particular deathtrap. If you're talking about the light armor they're working on deploying everywhere, then perhaps you should look up the story of the Abrams that was hit by an Iraqi tank in the first gulf war(only US tank casualty of the war, thanks to night fighting and superior range.) Turns out that armor is just useless against modern weaponry; if you get hit by a big gun, you're dead, armor or no, so you might as well go light on the armor, high on speed, and try to overrun the enemy's big guns quickly. For awhile, the Abrams made sense - hit from farther away than your opponent, and he dies before he can hit you. Problem is, the technology to fire projectiles a long way accurately is not a US exclusive, and air power makes tanks mostly obsolete anyway if you can afford enough air power(WWII tank busters with modern explosives would tear up a modern armored division that lacked air cover. It doesn't take much, really, because the tanks basically can't fight back. If you've GOT air cover, then why do you need tanks? A-10s are a better buy than tanks any day. You still need some light armor to help hold positions against infantry assaults and move troops quickly, but that's about it.)

Finally, Rumsfeld didn't say Iraq had WMDs in the sense that he knew it personally. He said he had intelligence that said so. He did have it. Problem is, it was exaggerated and/or faked by the people who produced it, who then went strangely unpunished for having done so:)

As for your links, the only important one is the last one, and I wouldn't have found it either through wikipedia or google. Just admit it. All but the last are fundamentally boring stuff that don't even remotely begin to accomplish your stated goal.

I wonder how closely you read that last link. If you think it is some kind of magical data gate that is immune to jamming, you're on crack. I wonder if you realize how easy it is to jam an UWB communication. I wonder if you realize that UWB nanosecond-scale pulses and this time reversal technology probably are fundamentally incompatible. I wonder if you realize that using a phased array with UWB is pointless. I wonder if you realize the short distances that are practical with time reversal(probably not over the order of a few miles at most, after a LOT of development.) In short, I wonder if you understand any of this, or if you just read about the capabilities and then said "if I could combine all this stuff, it'd be neat!"

Oh, and I wonder if you understand how long it typically takes before something proposed in an academic paper becomes a viable technology for military use, too. Cellular radio communications was first proposed in the 20s or 30s, in case you didn't know. The US military finally fielded a useful system - in Vietnam 50 years later.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
BS (none / 0) (#233)
by bjlhct on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 06:00:42 PM EST

According to what they announced a while beforehand the tests were for, the tests failed. Then they changed what the tests were for.

No, even so. The DoD has neglected transport capability in favor of high-tech junk that sits around. 72 hours is how long it takes to load, fly, and unload. These planes need to be set up. You can't just load em up at any time. Worse, there would be no logistics support.

The Comanche was crap. It was a gold plated scout copter with some weapons added on. The technology it was based on became obsolete several times during its development. It had no armor, and its stealth would not have worked. If it was built, it was so complicated it would have been too expensive to use.

The Stryker, yes.

Armor is outdated? Take a look at the M113 vs RPG statistics.

The intelligence DID NOT say that Iraq had WMDs. Get that through your head. They said that Iraq COULD have WMDs within about 7 years. Plus, the "evidence" was crap that anyone with half a brain saw through The aluminum tubes that wouldn't work as centrifuges? The Nigeria deal with a forged signature in crayon?

Yes, lots of anti-tank planes (like the A-10, which I like, by the way, but they are virtually being thrown away) beat tanks. And lots of ground-based AA beats planes.

You can use UWB with phased arrays and time reversal. You can't switch the pulses with semiconductors, but you can modify a physical switch net with semiconductors in between pulses well enough to do this.

Time reversal with good processing and good phased arrays has as good a range as any directional radar system.

I may not be an expert, but I probably know more about them than you.

The military is too slow. That's part of why its R&D is generally ineffective (don't tell me about DARPA, they mostly just take fund projects from civilians for their use and are inefficient anyway). Before long, military R&D will be almost entirely useless.

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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 0) (#234)
by trhurler on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 10:03:20 PM EST

According to what they announced a while beforehand the tests were for, the tests failed.
No. According to what news media ASSUMED, the tests failed. The media heard "missile defense test" and assumed they were testing whether the complete system would work. The military could care less of course; their work goes on regardless of what's in the papers. So, after the fact, when certain things didn't work as they hoped, they pointed out(rather quietly, and with amusement, if you actually look into it,) that those things were basically not expected to work in the first place.
The DoD has neglected transport capability in favor of high-tech junk that sits around. 72 hours is how long it takes to load, fly, and unload. These planes need to be set up. You can't just load em up at any time. Worse, there would be no logistics support.
Unfortunately for you, I'm sitting right next to Scott Air Force Base AND a couple of battalions worth of rapid deployment forces that prove you wrong. The US has the most advanced logistics and transport capability in history, and is ALWAYS buying more. You just don't have any clue what you're talking about here. There's enough transport capability in the US Air Force to equal what most of the rest of the world has COMBINED. That's a big part of why even relatively wealthy countries in, say, Europe tend to send more money and aircraft than ground assets whenever there's a war going on. They can't easily transport their ground assets, except in small numbers. We can.
The Comanche was crap. It was a gold plated scout copter with some weapons added on. The technology it was based on became obsolete several times during its development. It had no armor, and its stealth would not have worked. If it was built, it was so complicated it would have been too expensive to use.
This sort of thing gets said about every cancelled weapons program AFTER it is cancelled, and quietly about most things still in development. Yet, the ones they stay the course with end up working. The thing wasn't supposed to be armored, as you'd know if you had any clue what it was FOR, and its stealth was better than the already very successful Apache. The weapons were there for self defense; the thing was assumed to be operating in conjunction with Apaches that would carry the real armament. As for the technology, yes, that's why it got delayed so often. You can look at it as "becoming obsolete," but then you have to assume that every weapon that's more than a year or so old is obsolete. Another way to look at it is that they kept adding on requirements as the possibility of achieving them became real, neglecting deployment in favor of some "perfect" goal that was never going to be realized. Bad project management is not the same as a bad project.
Armor is outdated? Take a look at the M113 vs RPG statistics.
1960s era Soviet RPGs as used in Afghanistan? Sure. Modern weapons, as used by anyone from China to Russia, the US, Europe, and whoever else has a truly modern military? HAH. .50 SLAP will penetrate any APC in use in the whole world, and that's something that can be fired from a PERSONAL WEAPON. Think about it.
They said that Iraq COULD have WMDs within about 7 years. Plus, the "evidence" was crap that anyone with half a brain saw through The aluminum tubes that wouldn't work as centrifuges? The Nigeria deal with a forged signature in crayon?
Quit reading Indymedia and get a fucking clue. Those tubes might not work in commercial centrifuges in the US, but guess what? That's because they're the wrong size for the centrifuges. There's no reason to believe they COULDN'T fit SOME centrifuge, and in case you didn't notice, all you need once you have the tubes is... oh, that's right, a big electric motor and a machine shop. (Someone tried to say the tubes weren't strong enough. Interesting, but wrong; the aluminum sleeves are placed inside a stronger but more reactive metal casing that actually provides most of the strength, as I understand.) As for seven years, that estimate was for nukes only. And finally, from what I heard, the forgery on the Nigeria deal was something an expert would be expected to detect, and some expert made an oft-misquoted remark about that, but it was hardly "in crayon," and if there was no reason to doubt the authenticity of the document, then why would they send it to an expert?
And lots of ground-based AA beats planes.
This has never been true. Patriot and Arrow are about the only effective systems in the world, because they rely on missiles, and even then they're far from perfect and can easily be overwhelmed. Ground based AA was nearly useless in WWII, and as planes have gotten faster, it is just more and more useless. Computer controlled systems like Aegis improve the odds for the navy and could work elsewhere, but anything(Patriot, Arrow, Aegis, whatever,) that uses radar to track an enemy makes itself an awfully easy target at standoff ranges. The truth is, having a superior air force is not enough to win, but it is enough to make sure your enemy loses.
You can use UWB with phased arrays and time reversal. You can't switch the pulses with semiconductors, but you can modify a physical switch net with semiconductors in between pulses well enough to do this.
You think a physical switch net can react fast enough and precisely enough to be used with a transmission system that relies on pulses as short as a nanosecond and uses their timing as part of the signal, and that pulse modulation is compatible with a time reversed pulse system? Heh... you really don't have any idea how the technology works, do you? Your claim about time reversal, phased arrays, and range like directional radar has a small flaw: so far, the whole time reversal in RF thing is a research toy. Nobody's tried what you're talking about. So, you're talking out your ass. There's no reason to believe a phased array will lengthen those ranges by a greater proportion than it does any other transmission.
I may not be an expert, but I probably know more about them than you.
I've probably FORGOTTEN more than you know about the military. In addition to my various information sources, it is a hobby of mine, and I've been at it for around fifteen years now for various purposes. And I don't trust bullshit assessments by idiots who don't know shit about shit. You probably think the A-12 was a bad plane. Heh. It WAS overbudget(bad management on the military end, actually - they kept adding features without adding budget or schedule headroom,) but it was an insanely good aircraft. And so on.
That's part of why its R&D is generally ineffective
Sure, sure. That's why most of the technology you use today was invented for the military - because they're just fucking clueless and can't do anything right.

Man, you are dense.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Still BS (none / 0) (#236)
by bjlhct on Sat Aug 14, 2004 at 08:14:46 PM EST

OK, I won't argue with you about the tests because it is getting to be semantics.

Those forces in that base aren't ready to go anywhere.

I have always been saying this about the Comanche. The Apache stealth is crap, and the Comanche stealth was still crap. Yeah, the ones that stay the course (eg, the Space Shuttle and the B-2 bomber) end up working but are too expensive to use except to try to show you didn't waste money making them, which you still did. Somewhat useful planes like the F-15, F-16, and B-52 were not developed like this.

Yes, Soviet era weapons. You know why? Because all of our conventional forces are just for peacekeeping and protecting the US from terrorists. That's all they're good for. Fights between two countries with conventional forces amounts to a parade for both sides. When things get serious, the nukes come out.

Wrong, and wrong. The centrifuges wouldn't work because they were too uneven. Plus, they fit Iraq missile warhead specs and were anodized. I read that the Nigeria deal was sloppy and forged in the NYT, and I can't find anything solid to verify or debunk that. Go ahead if you want.

Patriot and Arrow are it? Wrong. I'm partial to Starstreak myself.

No, the timing control would be by a hard-wired system adapted to the specific pulse before the pulse by breaking points in it with transistors. Duh.

The developments from acoustic time reversal can be applied, and there is a lot there.

You don't have to believe me, and I don't have to believe you. I don't trust bullshit assessments by idiots who don't know shit about shit either.

That's a myth, just like how NASA takes credit for teflon and velcro.

Man, you are dense.


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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

Hmm (none / 0) (#237)
by trhurler on Sun Aug 15, 2004 at 12:24:28 AM EST

Those forces on that base, as you put it, have been deployed several times in the last decade, and not once did it take longer than it is supposed to.

The Apache works. You can argue all day, but it works. Stealth? It is quieter than most helicopters, but it isn't radar-stealthy and wasn't meant to be. It can kill sixteen tanks in a matter of about ten seconds, and using a Longbow as a pack leader, a group of them can do so without being exposed to enemy fire for more than about twenty seconds.

The B-2, despite us having only a handful of them, delivered more ordnance on target and did more damage than all the B-52s used over Iraq. Expensive? Yes, but you get more per mission out of it too, and it can do things the B-52 simply can't. Meanwhile, the B-52, while a decent bomber, has a deceptively low cost of operation that doesn't include the massive fighter escorts, air defense suppression, and so on that it requires to operate. Add that in, and the B-2 starts looking like a sweet deal.

Your view of conventional and nuclear war is stupid; only a handful of nations have nukes to begin with, and at this point if you only count the ones that are operational and ready to go, nobody except the US could possibly really afford to use them unless it was merely in revenge. The Russians still claim to have thousands ready to launch, but in reality, they can't even afford to pay the salaries of the people who do things like maintain the fuel stores for the rockets; probably most of their forces could not respond if called upon. We, in contrast, are still quite capable of destroying the entire surface of the planet. As such, for any enemy EXCEPT one of those terrorists you show such disdain for, nuclear attack against the US is not an option. Warfare HAS to remain conventional.

In any case, your attempt to explain away "70s era weapons" misses the mark. China, Russia, and most other "serious" enemies have much better antitank missiles than 1970s era Soviet RPGs. Their missiles(and ours) are quite capable of killing any armored vehicle, crew and all, from virtually any angle of attack, save for possibly the Abrams as a target, which some of the lighter weapons would have to hit in the right spot to kill. Every serious military on earth has SLAP or depleted uranium rounds that will penetrate and kill the toughest armored vehicles. Armor is obsolete, barring a major materials breakthrough.

I have no desire to argue with you further about the centrifuges; if you know how a centrifuge works, then you know what you're saying makes no sense, and if not, I don't want to be bothered.

Arrow vs Starstreak. Hmm... I'll take Arrow, thanks. Starstreak is a weapon without a foe; its munitions are absurdly expensive because it is designed to penetrate, which just isn't necessary, and because it uses THREE distinct guided projectiles - aircraft are not armored vehicles, and at Mach 4+(their claim,) those projectiles aren't going to have enough guidance to matter if the target jinks after separation from the second stage motor; conveniently, all the tests have been carried out against drone aircraft performing precisely zero evasive maneuvers. Furthermore, it requires a laser target designator(ie, won't work in bad weather and provides positive signature for a pilot being illuminated,) and has nearly zero or zero actual battlefield testing(Arrow units have successfully shot down actual enemy missiles several times now.)

Regarding time reversal and uwb: you clearly have not thought about the clocking involved here. Transistors don't even switch that fast unless they're part of an integrated circuit, let alone will an entire complex series of transistors carry out the operation you want in a short enough span of time. On a nanosecond scale, length and resistivity of current path actually matters because of TIMING issues.

While you're inventing devices that nobody else can, could you please cook me up an antigravity drive? I've been wanting one to use as a perpetual motion machine...

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Nope. (none / 0) (#240)
by bjlhct on Sun Aug 15, 2004 at 06:42:53 PM EST

  1. Don't buy it.
  2. Still don't buy it.
  3. The altitude was high, that stuff wasn't needed, B-52s did all the work. So, no.
  4. See, this means that states can't attack the US. So the US doesn't need to buy lots of high-tech fighters. They won't help anything. Our conventinal forces are only good for peacekeeping/low intensity warfare/nation building/etc.
  5. Yes, but we won't be fighting them, because we have lots of nukes.
  6. I know centrifuges, so likewise.
  7. Starstreak has been tested and is not more expensive than Arrow.
  8. That's while the transistors are not switching during the pulse, and the length and resistivity is part of the controlling. You clearly don't understand my clear explanation.
  9. No antigravity, but I do have cheap solar power and cheap space launch. =)


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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
Heh (none / 0) (#241)
by trhurler on Sun Aug 15, 2004 at 09:10:22 PM EST

Well, if you're just going to say "I don't believe it" when something happens that you don't think should be possible, your life will be interesting.

As for the B-2, I'm citing facts. I really don't care what you believe. The main targets for B-52s were columns of troops in transit, AFTER all the real danger had been blown to bits by B-2's. This is historical fact; I don't care whether you believe it or not.

Regarding nukes: if you mean that you think our interests can be served merely by making sure our actual homeland can't be attacked successfully by a nation-state, then you're dense. If you don't mean that, then your sentence makes no sense. I cannot tell which is the case. Throughout human history, one of the roles of the most powerful nation on earth, whatever it might be, has been to spread civilization and modernity. We're no exception, and nukes won't do that job.

Regarding Starstreak vs Arrow: deploying a launcher may not be more expensive, but the per-round cost? Heh. Let's make a bet.

I'm not even interested in carrying on; I'm pretty busy making fun of this gay rights troll in his diary, and there's of course other stuff that comes and goes. Neither of us is going to prove anything here, obviously.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Alright, me too..... (none / 0) (#242)
by bjlhct on Mon Aug 16, 2004 at 12:06:15 AM EST

Except for the centrifuges.
What do you say to
http://www.isis-online.org/publications/iraq/al_tubes.html
www.isis-online.org/publications/ iraq/IraqAluminumTubes12-5-03.pdf
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=33682
http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:bW1H4ZGbOHsJ:www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/ 05/27/times/index1.html+iraq+aluminum+tubes+anodized&hl=en&ie=UTF-8
http://www.rense.com/general34/hard.htm

Look at
http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/02/05/sprj.irq.powell.transcript.07/
and note that the DOE and most other experts were saying that they were probably for missiles, and that they were not of high tolerances, and uranium centrifuges aren't anodized, so we knew right then that Powell was lying about this.

Seriously, it was and is extremely obvious that they weren't centrifuges.


*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

One nitpick (none / 0) (#243)
by trhurler on Mon Aug 16, 2004 at 03:37:26 AM EST

First of all, it is not at all clear that Powell knows the technical details of centrifuges, and quite probable that he doesn't(or didn't, at the time.) As such, being wrong does not mean he was lying. SOMEONE was probably lying, or at least leaving out some relevant details, but it may or may not have been(probably wasn't) Powell.

Second, there have been a lot more creative deceptions used than anodizing something when import restrictions are to be circumvented, and Iraq does/did have a few CNC shops that probably could have modified those tubes, to say nothing of traditional bore alignment techniques that require nothing more than technology from, oh, say... 1900 or so.

That said, they were probably missile parts. So what? Iraq wasn't supposed to be building new missiles anyway. They did so, including testing of a missile with a range well beyond the maximum they were allowed under the terms set at the end of the 1991 war. They were clearly in violation of a number of both international agreements AND obligations they specifically had as a result of being losers of a war. You don't like the fact that Bush's team used intelligence that turned out to be partly false and partly misleading? Hey, I'm sure they don't either, being as it has been a PR nightmare, but do you think they would have failed to get support had they merely pointed out that Iraq wasn't living up to its obligations and that Saddam was a fucking nutcase? Well, they WOULD have failed to get European support, but they failed that anyway, so who cares?

And incidentally, the tolerances really don't have to be that high to make an effective centrifuge. What I don't understand, though, is why anyone thinks the Iraqis would choose a centrifuge method over, say, gaseous diffusion, which, while it would be blatantly obvious once they had it in operation, would also be possible to set up without having to buy any materials that aren't used in various legitimate industrial operations today, and would give a better yield. (Actually, it might be possible to hide it, but it is doubtful the Iraqi economy could have supported the necessary measures.)

All this aside, I'm going to go see if that idiot responded to my post. He's really pretty dense, and I'm hoping he's stupid enough to reply, because he's got no chance of doing anything but looking stupid.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Diffusion (none / 0) (#246)
by bjlhct on Mon Aug 16, 2004 at 04:51:58 PM EST

Diffusion is too inefficient for bombs, though good enough for reactors.

Saddam was a tyrant, but not a nutcase. He survived numerous assassination plots, provided education and healthcare, and kept the fundies in check. Don't tell me that he gassed his own people either - the Kurds were caught in the crossfire between Iran and Iraq, and Iran used chemical weapons first.

The tolerances need to be somewhat good. The bigger issue is that the strength would not have been high enough, especially after removing the anodized coating.

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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

Hmm (none / 0) (#247)
by trhurler on Mon Aug 16, 2004 at 06:31:52 PM EST

Diffusion was good enough for bombs in WWII. Good enough that the US, in less than 18 months, invented a barrier specifically to make it feasible, at a time when materials science was a truly primitive field. I suspect the truth is that centrifuge separation is cheaper per ounce, but if it involves operations you cannot accomplish, that's irrelevant. Remember, the US built huge calutrons(sp?) for this purpose in WWII, not centrifuges as we know them today, and they produced something like ten grams of weapons grade material a day each despite being insanely huge; at that time, diffusion was seen as a superior method economically(and it was.) The Iraqis wouldn't have needed the latest greatest technology - they just needed something they could build themselves and operate. They chose poorly:)

Oh, and it is hard to see how the Kurds were caught in the crossfire, given that they were in remote villages in the middle of exactly NO battlefields. Yes, Iran used chemical weapons - against formations of Iraqi troops in uniform. Saddam's men entered villages, massacred civilians, and gassed whatever was left, then used the Iran war as a cover story. Not quite the same.

Again, regarding strength: it is trivial to sleeve aluminum tubes for greater strength. A machine shop in Outer Slobolsgebovia could do this for you.

And finally, regarding Saddam being competent as a tyrant: yes, you're right, he was. So what?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
So Do I Win? (none / 0) (#249)
by bjlhct on Tue Aug 17, 2004 at 08:13:50 PM EST

I'll take you having conceded all my original points as winning =)

Enriching uranium takes a nontrivial amount of energy. Iraq doesn't have the energy production for it to be very practical with anything but gas centrifuges.

Actually, the Kurds were getting gassed by Iran too.

Yes, but they wouldn't balance right for spinning like that.

So Saddam was an effective tyrant. So he was NOT a "fucking nutcase."


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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

No (none / 0) (#250)
by trhurler on Wed Aug 18, 2004 at 01:02:31 PM EST

But don't feel bad; the prize is a stale oatmeal cookie anyway, so winning would suck.

Iraq's present energy production may not be too impressive as of right now, but you do realize they're sitting on a lake of crude oil, right? It would be a large project, but hardly impossible, to rectify this shortcoming.

I don't doubt that Iran fired chemical weapons at anything in Iraq that moved; this does not change the fact that there were no troops in or near those Kurdish villages except when Saddam's men went in to wipe them out.

Finally, your knowledge of machine shop work and simple mechanical things is apparently really bad. Balancing a rotating assembly is trivial even if its elements are not all balanced, but balancing the elements is easy enough anyway. First you use a bore align machine to even up the inside of the tube. Then you use a lathe to even up the outside. The tube, if the tube wall does not contain cavities(which it doesn't if it was supposed to be a missile part,) is now balanced. You do the same to a sleeve. Then you fit the sleeve, check the balance, and adjust it by shaving material from the sleeve, which you have purposely made a hair thicker than necessary. There are machines meant for doing the calculations for the balancing automatically, and they're available the world over if you have some cash. You can retain the sleeve with a slight interference fit and some pins. Now, I'll agree that commercial centrifuges in the US have not used all these tricks, due to the fact that we can manufacture any part we want to any tolerance we deem necessary, but you better believe that a lot higher tolerances than a centrifuge needs have been attained in just this way.

And incidentally, yes, Saddam was both an effective tyrant and a fucking nutcase. The two are hardly mutually exclusive. Similarly, I know a woman who has been diagnosed with more mental disorders than Carter's got pills who happens to be a whiz in organization of logistics. There's no accounting for insanity.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Stale Oatmeal Cookie??? (none / 0) (#254)
by bjlhct on Wed Aug 18, 2004 at 05:08:43 PM EST

I thought the prize was a 1 cubic meter capacity empty cardboard box. I'm not playing anymore.

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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
autoformat, do your stuff (none / 0) (#266)
by bjlhct on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 09:48:51 PM EST

The specific energy required to reach the altitude SpaceShipOne (SS1) reached is this, corresponding to this speed. Orbits are only stable above around 180 km. A 200 km orbit requires a speed of 7.78 km/s, so getting into a 200 km high orbit requires a specific energy of this, corresponding to this speed. That's 7.54159384 times faster! The formula for the speed of a rocket tells us that to go that much faster requires 693.390852 times as much rocket.

The exact cost of SS1 isn't public, but was probably between $20 and $50 million - I'll say $30 million here. Scaling this up to a low earth orbit capable rocket, we get $20.8 billion. I'm estimating the payload of SpaceShipOne at 400 kg from the rules. The shuttle launches 24,400 kg - 61 times as much. Scaling costs up to something that size, we get $1.2688 trillion The costs of the shuttle program over its entire life? About $145 billion.

Add in the costs of protecting the craft from re-entry from actual orbit, and things start to look expensive.

Now, one can get higher specific impulses than Rutan did, which reduces that number above the e. It makes for more expensive engines, but it doesn't have to cost nearly as much as it costs NASA. (Maybe they're paying people to make presentations like [this one www.dtic.mil/ndia/2002gun/vlahakis.pdf] from the military?) One can argue that Rutan could make a design that could make orbit cheaply. However, his building SS1 is not good evidence of that. That is a completely different requirement requiring entirely different engineering. A much harder and much more expensive requirement.

If I can get this posted, maybe I should do a neat write-up of my cheap Launch Loop derivative!

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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

and again (none / 0) (#267)
by bjlhct on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 10:04:53 PM EST

this one


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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
happy hunting (none / 0) (#268)
by bjlhct on Fri Aug 12, 2005 at 03:12:15 AM EST

:-)

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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
Think outside the box (none / 1) (#88)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 09:15:42 AM EST

There are all sorts of alternatives. Directed rf or laser communications to high altitude airships or satelliete is one.

Fighter planes are mostly automated these days anyway, and the end of the manned fighter is clearly near.

[ Parent ]

well, no (none / 0) (#100)
by trhurler on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 05:13:30 PM EST

First of all, directed RF can be jammed just like conventional RF. Laser is obviously more practical, except that it has serious range problems when used in atmosphere at power levels reasonable for communications, and since it requires line of sight, you're now talking about NEEDING those satellites or airships. Airships, to be blunt, are vulnerable. They're easy targets for even the most modestly capable nation-states. Satellites are better, but the days when we can rely on satellites being out of reach of most of our enemies are coming to an end - not a beginning - and satellites are very expensive to replace if someone attacks them. Much more expensive than it is to attack them, in fact.

The simple fact is that if you want a dominant air force, it is going to have a substantial manned fighter and attack component, at least for the forseeable future. Lots of "futurists" talk about how the days of manned combat aircraft are coming to an end. These same people talked about the paperless office back in the 80s. What works well in a demonstration has a few extra kinks to work out(and by a few kinks, I mean a lot of huge problems that are each close to insoluble,) if it is to be relied upon exclusively as an operational solution, in these cases. Yes, I think we'll see widespread deployment of UAVs. The US military already has the designation UCV, and for a reason. But, they will supplement and do dirty work - they will not be the sole means employed. Human pilots still have too many advantages, both obvious and otherwise.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Don't be so sure. (none / 0) (#103)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 05:34:15 PM EST

We're building stealth airships now that are for all intents and purposes impossible to trace from the ground.

I could even envison scenarios where manned aircraft serve as a control node for a gaggle of unmanned aircraft. The possibilities are endless.

When UCVs become more capable, you'll probably find that the modern multirole fighter will quickly become a relic.

[ Parent ]

Well (none / 0) (#105)
by trhurler on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 05:56:04 PM EST

We're building stealth airships now that are for all intents and purposes impossible to trace from the ground.
Well, first of all, we have ONE such airship. It cost a fortune to build, and required craftsmen rather than an assembly line. It can't do anything useful without giving away its position, and it certainly isn't invisible, so if you want it to go undetected, you better avoid populated areas.

Second, unless you want tracking it to be trivial, it has to be manned, because otherwise it has to use some means of communications, and that means giving up a position as well.
I could even envison scenarios where manned aircraft serve as a control node for a gaggle of unmanned aircraft. The possibilities are endless.
Thus giving away the positions of both the manned and unmanned craft, and making the system vulnerable to an attack on the manned craft, without really gaining much advantage except in a few scenarios. Yes, those scenarios will result in deployment of such systems, but they will not REPLACE. They will AUGMENT.
When UCVs become more capable, you'll probably find that the modern multirole fighter will quickly become a relic.
When computer networks get better and everyone has them, nobody will ever use paper again. Or so we were told decades ago, back before computer networks got better and everyone had them.

Right now, the best researchers can't even build a UCV that can successfully identify a target and put a missile on it without human intervention unless they take serious risks of firing on a wrong but similar target or other problems. As long as human intervention is needed, it is easier just to put a human in the thing, UNLESS the mission is very, very dangerous. Few missions are so dangerous as to justify the complexity and loss of flexibility that comes with being unmanned. Yes, the flexibility of UCVs will go up with time, but it will be a long, slow, gradual process. Nothing that is in use and works well today is going to become a relic anytime soon.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
You're making alot of assumptions... (none / 0) (#126)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 09:07:54 AM EST

The possible ability to leverage unmanned aircraft to reduce expensive piloted aircraft will drive military policy.

History is on my side. Well trained, accurate archers and knights were displaced by large numbers of untrained peasants armed with primitive firearms.

The US experience in Afghanistan and Yeman proves that even primitive UAVs can effectively conduct strikes.

I think that you'll see progress in UAV development move more rapidly than you think. The US is pouring billions into the technology, which has only been seriously funded for a couple of years.

[ Parent ]

Two things (none / 0) (#147)
by trhurler on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 02:52:39 PM EST

First of all, the peasants with firearms were hardly untrained, excepting some who weren't very effective. Training to properly use a firearm, care for it in the field, and so on is a substantial exercise for the less intelligent sorts who tend to make up "peasantry." Yes, they were cheaper than archers, but far more importantly, in large numbers they were more deadly. Few or no militaries gave up archers merely because they were a bit more expensive.

Second, the US experience in Afghanistan and Yemen proves that UAVs can operate effectively in an environment in which there is zero attempt to do anything to counter them. Big deal.

Third, dollars do not translate into results. Dollars plus time translate into results. Yes, eventually, UAVs will be amazingly capable. Eventually, missile defense will be amazingly effective against even large strikes. Eventually, we'll probably terraform Mars. But, no matter how much money we throw at these things, progress takes time.

There's an old adage among people who study technological progress. People tend to overestimate how much will change in the short term, and underestimate how much will change in the long term. I think you're a victim of this problem - you think that just because something has shown promise and there's lots of funding for it, it is going to suddenly revolutionize air war. It ain't so. Just today I read about the Future Combat System funding increase. Guess what? It is a gradual phase in. They're working to use traditional manned fighters with full armament, UAVs, and UCVs in conjunction as part of one mission plan. This is a good idea, and I think it'll work. So do the experts whose careers depend on it.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Cost, Effectiveness and Regional Deterrance (none / 1) (#32)
by cam on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 09:28:46 AM EST

How about some cost/benefit comparison to existing military technology? I bet this pork barrel will come out on the bottom.

I cited the cost of the FA22 and JSF in the article. Australia will spend 80 billion procuring JSF's assuming their costs remains static and doesnt increase. Spending 25 billion on the development phase for a platform that solves Australian projection needs seems less expensive against that. It will be less if in partnership with other nations.

As to comparing it with other platforms, when Australia adopts the JSF and retires the F111, Australia will suffer a significant drop in projection and strike power. If Australian wants to maintain that strike power, then it needs to build its own platform.

Manned fighter planes are now inferior to remotely piloted ones. Technology like UWB and mesh networks can make the connections virtually unjammable. Why pour money into a dead end?

Like missile carrying jets were superior to aircraft with cannons? Vietnam dispelled that myth. UAVs are actually more expensive to operate than manned aircraft. They have the same costs for airframe and weapon systems maintenance, but they run three shifts and labor costs are an expensive (and a component which undergoes constant inflation) in a military budget.

Why the hell does Australia need to project over to Indonesia? So its bombers can safely take out fishermen?

Indonesia is purchasing Su-25s and Su-27's. The Su-25 is the Russian equivalent of the F111. The Su-27 runs rings around the F18 in near range combat and looks like it will run rings around the JSF in the same situation.

Any credible attacker or beligerent willcome through Java and New Guinea as Japan did in 1942. Any credible attacker will try to dominate the ocean approaches to Australia, including the North West Shelf, Timor Sea and Coral Sea - as Japan did in 1942. It was the USN that wrested blue water dominance from Japan in 42/43. It is Australia's interest not to be reliant like that again on another force.

Who the hell wants to invade Australia anyway? China? China has already clearly told us that if they're gonna attack some place, it'll be Taiwan.

When the East Timor crisis was on, Indonesia was not going to ask the UN to allow troops into East Timor to settle the situation. Obviously, as the pro-Indonesian militia's were being stirred up by KOPASSUS. And an Australian led UN force could not go in without the legitimacy Indonesian agreeance would enable. So Australia moved its strike deterrent of six (just six!) F111's to the Northern Territory. Indonesia backed down and requested the UN send in a stabilising force to East Timor. A powerful strike weapon is a deterrent as well.

There are other issues as well, Pakistan is currently a nuclear nation that has shown aggression towards it neighbour. It is secular courtesy of a military dictator. When Musharraf gets overthrown who knows what instabilities it will add to the Indian Ocean region.

Indonesia is making great strides toward democracy, they kicked the military off parliament and their elections seems to have gone ok. They havent moved entirely to a market economy, but the day will come when they do a China as well. Indonesia needs to be able to mature in a stable regional environment, Australian deterrence regional can add to that stability.

China has moved to a market economy but is not yet a democracy. It appears the China maturing to a democracy is going to take longer. Again China needs to be able to mature in a stable region so that there is no interruption to the reforms going on that will hopefully end up with China being a democratic market economy. Australia can contribute to regional stability so that China is interrupted by regional flare-ups anf conflicts.

Why should we believe that the budget is accurate, given the history of high-tech new fighter planes?

I used the current best figures for the FA-22 and JSF. The FA-22 is nearly complete in its development phase. The JSF is only part way in.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Ugh (none / 0) (#35)
by cam on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 09:42:26 AM EST

This should read;

Australia can contribute to regional stability so that China is *NOT* interrupted by regional flare-ups and conflicts.

Bad word to leave out.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Not Quite (none / 0) (#47)
by bjlhct on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 04:26:31 PM EST

Sure, I agree that this would be cheap compared to the JSF - if its budget is accurate. That's because the JSF is a waste of money that's developing slower than the technology it's based on and is going to be built only to make the fighter jocks at the top of the chain of command happy. They'll probably end up like the B-2: too expensive to even use, rotting until they're obsolete.

What we saw in the cold war is that in a conflict between two countries with big nuclear arsenals, confentional forces are almost irrelevant. What we saw we needed in Afghanistan was GPS bombs and B-52s. How does this fighter stack up against this 50-year old plane in strike capability? Poorly! What we're seeing in Iraq is that fighters aren't useful, bombers are useful early on, and then close air support is needed.

The SU-27 is, I would say, slightly inferior the the JSF for air-v-air, but far cheaper. Anyway, as US test exercises have shown, the quality of the piloting is more important than the quality of the plane most of the time.

UAVs are not more expensive than manned planes generally. If they are, it is because the UAVs were poorly designed and are sent on the most dangerous missions (and therefore need more repair.) Remember, the Predator was designed to scout.

Indonesia wasn't deterred by the F111s, but something else. Those 6 planes would have had almost no effect.

A credible attacker will control the ocean routes like Japan did? Nope, a credible attacker will either take out the entire military and most of the cities with H-bombs sent by missile or spy, or set off a few nukes in a few cities and then hold the rest of the country hostage for whatever it wants.

Australia doesn't need to protect China from regional flare-ups. China's military is more powerful than Australia's.

Your "current best figures" are STILL (unfortunately) lowballed by the people who want these planes.

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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

Again (none / 0) (#124)
by cam on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 08:50:10 AM EST

UAVs are not more expensive than manned planes generally.

They are basically a modern aircraft, with an airframe, modern engine, modern avionics and weapon systems. A manned aircraft at the end of its mission has its pilot sleep for the night. UAV's do three shifts, so the labor costs for maintenance are the same as a manned aircraft, but since there are three shifts of pilots/operators, it is more expensive than a manned aircraft.

Indonesia wasn't deterred by the F111s, but something else. Those 6 planes would have had almost no effect.

It was leaked by the Australian government that they were being moved to Darwin. The rest of the F111 fleet may have come after it if Indonesia had not of backed down.

Australia doesn't need to protect China from regional flare-ups. China's military is more powerful than Australia's.

No it isnt, in terms of modernity, Australia and China are about the same. The only difference is Australia doesnt have several hundred thousand low tech troops, several hundred U-boats from WWII and several thousand Mig-15/17's.

In terms of modern equipment and capability Australia and China are on about par.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Military Superiority (none / 0) (#154)
by bjlhct on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 08:01:16 PM EST

Quantity has a quality all its own. China's masses of low-tech equipment and hordes of troops would run right over Australia's high tech weaponry.

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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
Nukes (none / 0) (#125)
by atarola on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 09:05:01 AM EST

A credible attacker will control the ocean routes like Japan did? Nope, a credible attacker will either take out the entire military and most of the cities with H-bombs sent by missile or spy, or set off a few nukes in a few cities and then hold the rest of the country hostage for whatever it wants.

Damn, everyone is nuke-happy here today.

What if you wanted to take over a country without turning it into a wasteland?

cheers,
atarola


"Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live"
-- John F. Woods
[ Parent ]
Why? (none / 0) (#155)
by bjlhct on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 08:02:59 PM EST

Why would you want to? You either want land, natural resources, or money/stuff, in which case you nuke, nuke, and blackmail with nukes, respectively.

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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
but why? (none / 0) (#94)
by DDS3 on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 11:04:05 AM EST

As to comparing it with other platforms, when Australia adopts the JSF and retires the F111, Australia will suffer a significant drop in projection and strike power.

Why does this matter?  With allies like Europe, the US, and even Brit, they really don't have a need to "project" power.  Isn't the whole reason they purchase, for their own defense rather than power projection?  Even so, a 1000nm range still makes for projection capabilities.  Which, I might add, can still be extended with air refueling.  Thusly, reasonable and safely, they can generally be refueled giving a 1200-2000nm range.  That's still plenty of capability with minimal risk at a slight increase of logistical complexity.

Indonesia is purchasing Su-25s and Su-27's. The Su-25 is the Russian equivalent of the F111. The Su-27 runs rings around the F18 in near range combat and looks like it will run rings around the JSF in the same situation.

The Su-25 is based on the notion of a US-Russian, massive attack.  It's generally considered connon fodder, last I read.  The problem with the Su-27 is that it's doubtful it would even get into dog-fighting range and even then, statistically, victory goes to the one with the best training.  Remember, missiles really are delivering on the promise that they thought they could deliver during Vietnam.  These days, generally speaking, victory goes to the one that can touch the other first.  And, with the JFS' capabilities, chances are, it will be the JFS that wins.  Sure, it's romantic to imagine "Top Gun" fights at every corner.  Simple fact is, those just generally don't happen when a war is on.  Not in this day and age.

Every year, war become more and more fire and forget and the one that makes it self the least easiest to target, is probably going to win.  That's the whole reason the JSF is replacing so many planes around the world.

[ Parent ]

Trusting your Allies (none / 2) (#123)
by cam on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 08:45:25 AM EST

Why does this matter? With allies like Europe, the US, and even Brit, they really don't have a need to "project" power.

That is a silly argument. Australia tried that in the 1930's, it sunk dollars into Singapore and expected the Royal Navy to come and save Australia when needed. The RN got tied up in Europe and sent two ships out to defend Singapore. The Japanese promptly sunk them and Britain was unable to project into the Pacific. Australia needs a capable, sustainable and self-reliant defence force. Anything other would be criminal.

Sure, it's romantic to imagine "Top Gun" fights at every corner.

This isnt about making cool planes, it is about Australia losing its projection power when it retires the F111 and replaces it with more numerous JSF's. There will be a net loss in Australian capability and deterrence.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Not sure these makes sense today... (none / 0) (#141)
by DDS3 on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 12:28:09 PM EST

That is a silly argument. Australia tried that in the 1930's, it sunk dollars into Singapore and expected the Royal Navy to come and save Australia when needed. The RN got tied up in Europe and sent two ships out to defend Singapore. The Japanese promptly sunk them and Britain was unable to project into the Pacific. Australia needs a capable, sustainable and self-reliant defence force. Anything other would be criminal.

You're comparing pre-world war politics and technology with modern day politics and technology.  Granted, I can see that the politics angle may have merit, but the technology angle pretty much busts your position wide open.  Beyond that, you're talking about defense and not power projection.  These are two completely different things.

This isnt about making cool planes, it is about Australia losing its projection power when it retires the F111 and replaces it with more numerous JSF's. There will be a net loss in Australian capability and deterrence.

Again, you're confusing defense with power projection.  I honestly don't know much about the politics of the region, however, unless they play the role of regional cops, they really don't have a need to project power.  And, removing their F111 fleet for a stronger defensive capability seems to make sense.  After all, you never did answer why they have a need to project power.  Are they the regional cops?  Are they the reason for regional stability?  If the answer is yes to the second question, it's all the more reason why its allies have self interest in assuring their protection.

After it's all said and done, their trading the ability to project power at half their current range for a much, much greater offensive and defensive capability.  If, their goal really is to have a strong defensive military, then I'd say they easily satisfied their goal.

[ Parent ]

Contradictions (none / 0) (#167)
by cam on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 09:09:54 AM EST

Beyond that, you're talking about defense and not power projection. These are two completely different things.

No they are not. Australia's ability to defend itself is dependant upon being able to control the ocean approaches around Australia. This means the North-West shelf, the Timor Sea, the Coral Sea and even the Tasman Sea. The only way Australia can defend these approaches is through being able to project power out into them.

however, unless they play the role of regional cops, they really don't have a need to project power.

That statement is a contradiction. Australia would never have been able to handle East Timor and the Solomons expeditions if it wasnt able to project power.

their trading the ability to project power at half their current range for a much, much greater offensive and defensive capability.

If you are trading your power projection for something less, I do not see how that can make for a great offensive ability. That state is a direct contradiction as well.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

counter (none / 0) (#184)
by DDS3 on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 01:09:10 PM EST

No they are not.

Then I think your definition differs from the rest of us.  Power projection is the act of projecting your power beyond your borders.  It's often used for intimidation, political statements, and general policy warnings.  Generally speaking, power project is a political tool.  Often, this power is projected into completely different regions.  Defense is the ability to protect ones borders and population.  So, clearly we are talking about two completely different things.

That statement is a contradiction. Australia would never have been able to handle East Timor and the Solomons expeditions if it wasnt able to project power.

Actually, I asked several question and you failed to answer them.  Therefore, I can't be making contradictions.  You do, however, seem to be confusing power projection with offensive strike capabilities.  Thus far, the only contridiction I'm seeing is coming from your reply.

If you are trading your power projection for something less, I do not see how that can make for a great offensive ability. That state is a direct contradiction as well.

You statements is full of holes.  Your statement assumes that the F111 is superior in every way to the JSF.  It's not.  It's superior only in it's range and payload.  Simple fact is, the F111 sucks for power projection when it has to skate across open ocean.  This is exaclty why the JSF is better.  It's stealthy.  The F111 requires hills, mountains and valleys to gain any measure to surprise, especially when talking about any modern military power.  Thusly, they traded easy targets which go far and carry heavier loads for nimble, multirole, hard targets, with half the range; which ignores in flight refueling.  The F111 was designed to fight in Europe with ample terrain to mask it.  The situations you describe, make it a pethetically easy target for any modern force.

So, after all that, we're left wondering how effective their power projection, even with the F111, really is.  Are you saying their offensive range is reduces?  I agree, somewhat.


[ Parent ]

Yeah, Australia need all the weapons they can get. (2.25 / 4) (#18)
by Tezcatlipoca on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 11:06:01 PM EST

Those Tongans and Vanuatuans may one day plot an invasion of dire proportions.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
World War II (3.00 / 4) (#19)
by strlen on Sat Aug 07, 2004 at 11:56:16 PM EST

Australia was most definately threatened by a Japanese invasion in World War II. The fact that their neighbors are weak/unstable Oceanian Islands (easily by any invader) and Malaysian, Indonesia and Phillipine archipelagos (each with an active Islamic insurgency and a volatile political climate) can easily make them a target for say China, or for any future Iran-like fundamentalist state that may emerge in Indonesia (largest Islamic country) or Malaysia.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Sigh.... (none / 0) (#257)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Aug 19, 2004 at 11:01:21 AM EST

And if China becomes the master overlord of all the SOuth Pacific what is Australia going to do?

About Indonesia or Malaysia I will comment nothing, those were thrown by you in here out of sheer desperation to make an argument...

Malaysia....

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]

China and Australian Vulnerabilities (none / 0) (#259)
by cam on Thu Aug 19, 2004 at 12:27:18 PM EST

And if China becomes the master overlord of all the SOuth Pacific what is Australia going to do?

Maintain the ability to project military power out into the Indian Ocean, Timor Sea and Coral Sea to ensure that Australia's sea line of communication (SLOCs) ie trade lines, arent compromised or vulnerable.

About Indonesia or Malaysia I will comment nothing, those were thrown by you in here out of sheer desperation to make an argument...

Indonesia is buying Su-27's and Su-35's. We dont know how many in total yet. But they will be enough to challenge Australia's existing arsenal. The other issue with Indonesia is stability. Already Australia has led the East Timor UN mission. The Aceh province has tried to secede again in recent years, there has been lawlessness in Irian Jira (another annexed part of Indonesia).

So there may be the issue for Australia to lead other missions if renegade provinces break away, or if Indonesia does balkanize there may be the need for Australia to protect against new nations that may pop up, and not necessailry democratic ones.

The other thing to consider is that defence forces dont define their needs by the existing threats. Threats change faster than weaponry does. For instance the F111 was procured in 1968, two years after Indonesia annexed Irian Jira and seven years before it invaded East Timor. 30 years later, terrorism and failed states are bigger issues.

Defence forces define their needs by where the national interest is vulnerable. In Australia's case it is geographically vulnerable as a trading nation on its sea approaches. Japan tried to cut Australia off from the US in 1942 by striking out for New Caledonia. They didnt quite get there, fortunately, so Australia wasnt isolated.

Australia is vulnerable in this area and needs to be capable of defending against another force that would seek to exploit this weakness.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

do you get this unit in civilization iii... (2.00 / 6) (#22)
by circletimessquare on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 04:40:51 AM EST

after or before the computers or satellites science advance?

is it a special unit unique to the australian civilization?

how many citizens under the communist government do i have to sacrifice to rush build one of these?

thanks

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Oh, please (none / 1) (#24)
by trhurler on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 05:51:23 AM EST

Look at the defense budgets of these countries. Look at the development cost of even one such fighter design. Frankly, you can't afford it, the rest of the truth be damned. If the US weren't paying the development costs, you couldn't afford to fly the jets you have now.

I agree with you in part - JSF sucks - and not just for you - frankly, it sucks for us too, and is a political strategy for defense contractors rather than a military weapon, really. BUT, pretending you're going to solve the problem by suddenly coming up with billions of dollars to spend on your own aircraft designs... well, no offense, but I'm having a hard time not laughing. What we spend on a weapons system, you spend on your military.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

+1: imperialistic claptrap (2.50 / 4) (#28)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 08:18:36 AM EST

Yes yes. You have a bigger country and can bully the rest of world into submission, we're all aware of that. This does not mean, however, that we are not able to spend proportionally insane amounts of money on defense.

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
Sop up some of those tears (1.75 / 4) (#36)
by Hide Teh Hamster on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 11:04:01 AM EST

with your blankey.


This revitalised kuro5hin thing, it reminds me very much of the new German Weimar Republic. Please don't let the dark cloud of National Socialism descend upon it again.
[ Parent ]
I love you man. (nt) (none / 0) (#58)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 06:43:14 PM EST



---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
Affordability (none / 0) (#30)
by cam on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 09:12:31 AM EST

Frankly, you can't afford it, the rest of the truth be damned. If the US weren't paying the development costs, you couldn't afford to fly the jets you have now.

In the latter part of the article I showed how affordable it is. Taking the JSF as a marker - for a development cost of 25 billion over 10 years, that is roughly 2.5 billion a year. If Australia was to do it alone that is a 12% increase in the defence budget. As equal partners in a four way development program (ie Australia, Japan, Sth Korea, Taiwan) tht cost drops to 600 million a year. Very very affordable.

Australia has a history of creating indiginous shipping in the last 20 years, for instance the Collins Class attack sub and ANZAC Class Frigates. The ANZAC class were bought at a cost of 400 million each. 600 million for fighter development does not look so bad against those costs.

well, no offense, but I'm having a hard time not laughing. What we spend on a weapons system, you spend on your military.

The Collins Class have only been commissioned in the last decade, they are they most sophisticated and highest technology conventional attack subs on the globe. In exercises with the USN, they consistently take out the carriers in US carrier groups. Spending gobs of dollars is no guarantee of ascendency or dominance.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

I think you're over-stating your case (none / 1) (#44)
by jubal3 on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 03:49:10 PM EST

"The essential and the visible problem with the Collins Class submarines is that they cannot perform at the levels required for military operations. The underlying cause is a myriad of design deficiencies and consequential operational limitations relating to the platform and combat system.
As a result of the operational limitations, it is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain the very high levels of crew training and morale needed for submarine operations. This situation is exacerbated by the timetable for taking the Oberons out of service, such that there is a serious gap in Australia's continuing submarine capability.
Behind the technical problems and delays are a series of commercial and contractual constraints and managerial shortcomings." -Report for the Australian Ministry of Defense


Now I grant that new weapons systems have teething problems and some of the shortcomings have been addressed since 1999, when this report was made. and Kudos to the crew of HMAS Collins.
However, this doesn't make for "most sophisticated and highest technology conventional attack subs on the globe." Not by a long shot.
The Collins' crew did a great job in one excercise. I'd put it to skill of the crew here, rather than just calling it a bad day for the USS Olympia.
Australia, with a number of partners, may be able to come up with a better strike aircraft than the JSF based on range alone. Given the likely threats (Indonesia, China) a maritime long range strike fighter that is survivable sounds feasible for such a coalition.

But given the limited funds available, not to mention sheer technical expertise, don't kid yourself about how good the thing is going to be vs. the best available, or vs things like the Aegis system. Blow hell out of chinese warships approaching New Guinea? Sure. Take on a thoroughly modern Carrier battle group? No way.

btw, nicely done article:)


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]
Carrier Group (none / 1) (#68)
by richarj on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 10:18:36 PM EST

But given the limited funds available, not to mention sheer technical expertise, don't kid yourself about how good the thing is going to be vs. the best available, or vs things like the Aegis system. Blow hell out of chinese warships approaching New Guinea? Sure. Take on a thoroughly modern Carrier battle group? No way.

Australia could develop a weapon to destroy a entire Carrier Battle group that could be deployed from one aircraft and fired at long range (we are a high tech country). But whats the point, that is not where defence is going.



"if you are uncool, don't worry, K5 is still the place for you!" -- rusty
[ Parent ]
we almost have a working ABM (none / 0) (#90)
by LilDebbie on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 10:15:39 AM EST

and you know damn well where we'd stick one of the first operational systems.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
UM (none / 1) (#114)
by richarj on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 02:52:30 AM EST

Australia? Thats right Australia has no need to develop tech to attack our allies.

Other places they will probably go are (Not including US soil)
Israel
Japan
Taiwan
Turkey
Germany
Britain
Greenland
Canada


"if you are uncool, don't worry, K5 is still the place for you!" -- rusty
[ Parent ]

I was referring to the Carrier group (none / 0) (#128)
by LilDebbie on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 10:10:08 AM EST

nevermind

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Um, I don't think so (none / 0) (#108)
by jubal3 on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 10:04:54 PM EST

1. Australia is NOT going to develop a nuclear weapons capability anytime in the forseeable future.

2. If they did, what makes you think it's going to be better in terms of survivability and penetration ability than the Russkies? The Soviets pretty well gave up oin trying to kill US carrier groups a long time ago, after devoting more resources to the proposition than the entire GDP of Australia for several years amounts to.

If you think you're going to get your nuke through Aegis, be my guest. Only way I can think of is getting lucky on a ballistic trajectory, which meant you just committed nuclear suicide for the whole country anyway.

Bottom line: Australia may well be able to develop a decent long range maritime strike aircraft (for the likely threats). But developing one that competes against the best technology out there, whether from the US, EU or wherever, is a pipe dream.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]
You don't think like an engineer (none / 2) (#113)
by richarj on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 02:48:20 AM EST

You use technology in a expected fashion, Aegis prevents that. Use tech in a non expected fashion. And you don't need nukes. Also technology has advanced much from the 80's and 90's. I'm not going to explain it to you though, I'll let you guess how it can be done.

"if you are uncool, don't worry, K5 is still the place for you!" -- rusty
[ Parent ]
Never underestimate the power of the submarine (none / 1) (#251)
by Your Mom on Wed Aug 18, 2004 at 02:00:59 PM EST

I think that you don't give the submarines enough credit.  I spent 18 months as the ASW officer on a US cruiser, so I know what the US's capabilities are in defending against a submarine threat.

Accepting that you're going to lose a sub or two, 3-4 diesel electric subs, playing defense in their own home waters that they excersise in will be able to knock out the better part of a Carrier/Expeditionary Strike group, and deny them the use of that area.  Where the difficulty lies for the defenders (and the US gains it's strength from) is that trading 1-2 subs for a CSG becomes a net win for the US when we have the capability to throw 7 of them at a problem at a time!

The problem comes when you move to an attack footing, then submarines lose some of their inherent value.

--
"As far as I'm concerned, Osama bin Laden can eat a dick." -trhurler
[ Parent ]

nitpick (none / 1) (#65)
by caridon20 on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 09:46:02 PM EST

Hate to burst your bubble. But both the collins class would be inposible without the underlying swedish designs.

The collins is designed by Kokums
http://www.kockums.se/Submarines/collins.html
and basicly aderivative of our västermanland class.

The ANZAc klass have their hole
to quote: http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/anzac/
"Blohm + Voss Australia provides the platform design and combat system integration; and SaabTech Australia provides electronic integration and combat system design"
thats one german and one swedish firm :)

On the other hand. Im glaad to se that we are not alone in handing the americans som silent torpedo death in joint exercises :)
I wonder when they will learn to handle the baltic waters :)

/C
Dissent is NOT Treason Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
[ Parent ]

Only one response (none / 0) (#78)
by trhurler on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 02:37:30 AM EST

The Collins Class have only been commissioned in the last decade, they are they most sophisticated and highest technology conventional attack subs on the globe. In exercises with the USN, they consistently take out the carriers in US carrier groups.
Um, no. The latest US attack subs(only one or two are yet actually built,) are quieter, better armed, have better passive and active sensors(not just sonar anymore, by a long shot,) and derive great capability from their connection to the overall US naval communications system. As for war games, the US routinely lets its allies win these, whether naval or otherwise(we let some Indian pilots most of whom wouldn't even qualify for our better flight training programs "win" against a superior number of F-15s while flying outdated MiGs, for instance.) The goal of these games is procedural training, confidence building, and so on - not to figure out who would really win if all the stops were pulled out. If you want to know the likelihood of one of your subs taking out a US carrier, consider this: the Soviet estimation was that they couldn't do it even if they used nuclear weapons in a mass attack designed hopefully just to get ONE through. This was BEFORE Aegis and other improvements. They knew that their entire navy and air force just couldn't do the job, and they tried for decades to find a way. US carriers are probably among the safest places on earth.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Aegis ? sensors ? (none / 2) (#80)
by caridon20 on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 03:26:01 AM EST

ok a couple of nitpicks. 1) Aegis has NOTHING to do with subs it is a better Command and dontroll system for Anti Air. And about as helpsull against a sub as a sign on the ship saying "i am a flounder please do not shoot" :) 2) what other sensors do you claim that the new american subs have ? MAD ? (to short range) BTW active sensors is worthles for a sub as the detectionrange on an active sensor generaly is relative to the square of the output but the detectionrange against the emitting platform is relative to the output. Therefore the emitting target will always be detected before the quiet target. And subbs are all about quiet. 3)I can agree that the new american subs have better armarment. I can even belive that they in blue water have somwhat better sensors (towed array sonar gives you a small edge) but they are nukes. NO nukes can be as quiet as a conventional sub. The laws of physiks are against you. the core must always bee cooled and that meens pumps,pipes with flowing water ect. a conventional (not NOT Disel) can go purely battery and be even quieter. also a conventional sub is smaller with a smaler MAD signature, a smaller crossection for active emmisions and less heattrail (you can do rough trailing of nuke-subs from space by looking for the cooling water from the reactor, leaves a nice infrared trace) 4) The american navy trains for bluewater. They have documented problems when the sea is shallow or the water changes. (for more info about the problems, google for termocline and halocline) 5) As for the soviet subs they were known to be noisy so its not a suprice that they were afraid that they vould not get their opponent. finaly to quote a friend with more sub experience than me. "there are two types of ships subs and targets" /C
Dissent is NOT Treason Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
[ Parent ]
Well (none / 0) (#101)
by trhurler on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 05:32:01 PM EST

First of all, the Aegis comment was relevant for one reason: because the Russians contemplated every possible means of attack, and even before we really had good air defenses, they figured it was impossible - not by just one method, but by ANY method. Sure, their subs were noisy. But, they did have these nukes on missiles, and they routinely tracked our carrier groups' locations. It wouldn't have been all that difficult for them to simply blanket a huge swath of ocean with enough explosive power to at least disable a carrier group as a whole, and even doing it that way, the economic cost is less than the cost of that carrier group by a huge margin. The problem was, short of that, they had no means of doing any serious damage, and they knew a nuclear war was a lose-lose proposition. They contemplated building better attack submarines, but it was unlikely they could beat the best American ones. Non-nuclear was not an option, because the endurance required for this kind of thing simply wouldn't allow electrics or even diesel/electric hybrids.

As for the subs, I know they have sonar(towed and otherwise,) and I know they have MAD. I have little doubt that the various satellite methods you mention(thermal is only one of them, actually - they can also use reflectivity and a bunch of other stuff that works surprisingly better than it seems like it ought to,) are in use, and that the subs don't have to transmit to use them. Also, I know there has been work on using active sensors deployed on platforms other than the sub which then transmit their findings - again, the sub gets to be silent. This has gone on with fixed platforms undersea, conventional naval vessels, satellites, aircraft, and probably other ways as well. Of course, seeing as I'm a civilian who looks at this stuff as an interesting subject, I have no access to the gory details, but it usually isn't too hard to infer rough capabilities from the technologies in use - this method works a staggering percentage of the time.

As for nuclear vs conventional, sure, a conventional electric can run somewhat quieter, for a short time. So what? Attacking a carrier group is going to involve being very quiet while travelling solely underwater long enough to traverse several hundred nautical miles, attack, and then evade the rest of the carrier group(I'm pretty sure at this point after your attack you're dead meat, really, but I guess you MIGHT get away.) That given, you better hope you can't be tracked by any means available, because one problem the Soviets had was that since we have a massive surveillance network, we tended to follow their subs from the time they left port, and always just knew where they were. For a conventional sub that has to surface regularly, this is a REAL problem.

Subs and targets may be a nice motto, but in the history of submarine warfare, the targets have more often been merchant mariners or at most maybe destroyers, because the survival rate is just so much better when attacking those. Even if you could sink or disable a carrier(and remember, a single torpedo or missile hit against something a half mile long is probably at most a temporary nuisance, so you have to fire multiple times and hit often despite the carrier group's ships trying to place themselves in your way and so on,) how would you escape a half dozen or more ships(including subs) which now have your position as of the time of firing and want nothing more than to send you and your whole crew to the bottom? They probably know how far you can run silent, how far you can run without coming up, where your bases are located, how long you've been at sea, and so on, so it isn't as though you can 'just go anywhere in the world' to avoid them.

As far as I'm concerned, there are indeed two types of ships. Aircraft carriers, and ships that protect aircraft carriers. Attacking the latter might be feasible, but isn't all that interesting. Attacking the former... well, that's insanity. Even if you succeed you're probably dead, and you probably won't succeed.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
rebuttal. (none / 1) (#117)
by caridon20 on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 04:03:38 AM EST

I still think that the AEGIS is irelevant for the ability of a SUB to take out a carrier group.  It might be relevant for the OVERALL ability to take out a carier group buy that is not the focus of the argument.

When it comes to disel/electric subs i have some coments.

1) they do not need to surface to reload their batteries. they only have to enter periscope depht (spelling?) to start the disels. and a snorkel is about 30cm * 5cm * 5cm (above the water.) not much to find :)

2) the new swedish/german/australian ect subs use Air independant propulsion that gives an endurance of around 2 months in patrol speeds. not enough to cross the entire world but quite enough to intercept stuff WAY out from our borders. it is the next best thing to nukes and it is quieter than nuces when you sneek in for the kill.

3) You are talking about sensors not based on the SUB so a better description would be that the US has a overall better mesh of sensors for targeting.  Any SUB tied into their C3 would bennefitt from the increaced capabillity  This does not make the US subs better. (its like saying that a US riflemann has better hearing because he gets targetupdates by radio. Apples and oranges)

4) the problems subbs had before was that their targets had to be sunk and where heavily armored.
(And that torpedos were very inprecise weapons)
To get a mission kill today you only need 1 (or maby 2) hits on a carrier.  that will hurt it enough to stop it from making its 30 knots (most torpedoes hit around the screws as they make the most noice,(actual knowledge from live torpedo exercices with RSN and no secret)), with out that top speed the carrier cannot launch planes and is now a big fat expensive target.

5)sidenote on hitting carriergroups. A carriergroup consists of 2 thins. the carrier and supportships.  the defencive supportships are angled against 1 of 2 threats. air attack or sub attack, the problem with this is that you whant the Anti Air ships close to the carrier to create a strong "umbrella" that cannot be saturated. But you want the sub attack ships out wide to intercept subs (there is no efective anti torpedo device deployed yet so you want to find the sub before it enters range) this puts the ships with the worst AA outside the AA umbrella.
(do you se where this is leading)  the konventional wisdome here is to use Airattacks to either sink the sub hunters or force them in close to the carrier, this in turn gives the subs the chance to knock out the AA and so on.

You can probably not disable a carriergroup with one attack. but they are vounerable to atrition.
however the trick is geting through the carriers air screeen with that first airstrike :)

The second way to hurt the group is the ambush.
the traditional swedish way to do this is mines.
we have external detashable (spelling ?) girdles that contain mines. If you know where the ennimy is going. you can place mines in front of him. then you place your subs (preferably 3-4 of them)  att 0130,05.00  and 1030 relative the target (0700 to if you have 4 subs) (beyond detectionrange).
when the first mine explodes there will be confusion and the group will probably break to either side.  now you have a disorganiced enemy that are surounded, lunch for any competent captain :)

/C
Dissent is NOT Treason Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
[ Parent ]

Problems (3.00 / 2) (#139)
by zantispam on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 12:00:25 PM EST

I still think that the AEGIS is irelevant for the ability of a SUB to take out a carrier group.

A Charlie class missle sub can really ruin your whole day.  That's what AEGIS is for.

they only have to enter periscope depht (spelling?) to start the disels

'Depth', 'Diesels'.

At periscope depth you have three really big problems.


  1. Possibility of broaching (surfacing unintentionally) in heavy seas.

  2. The potential to have a P-3 see you.

  3. Greatly increased chance of getting a MAD return.


Besides which, (umm, pulls at ass) J-band radars (I think) are designed to detect periscopes.

the new swedish/german/australian ect subs use Air independant propulsion that gives an endurance of around 2 months in patrol speeds.

Figures, please.  Test depth and flank speed submerged, specifically.  I promise they're not as fast nor can they dive as deep as a 688 boat (or a Virginia or an Alfa or a Collins).

To get a mission kill today you only need 1 (or maby 2) hits on a carrier.

Wrong,

that will hurt it enough to stop it from making its 30 knots

wrong,

most torpedoes hit around the screws as they make the most noice

wrong,

with out that top speed the carrier cannot launch planes and is now a big fat expensive target.

and wrong.

Torps don't have the guts to really make much of a dent in half-meter thick hulls (well, maybe the brand new 48s and the Spearfish do).  Meaning that unless you're lucky enough to get a stern shot and pop the shaft seals, you're going to need three or four good solid hits.

Carriers do 40+ knots.

Even dead in the water carriers can conduct flight operations due to two nifty inventions - the steam catapult and the arresting wire.  You do realize that modern carriers can launch aircraft with a tailwind, right?

A carriergroup consists of 2 thins. the carrier and supportships

Close.  A CBG consists of the high value unit(s) and the support units.  The high value unit(s) may or may not be the CVNs.  Example: I've gone off my rocker and decided to invade China.  If I'm CINCPAC, I'm going to send four CVNs, all of my landing craft, all of my baby flattops (landing operations support), and every Tico and Arlegh-Burke I can get my hands on.  What's the high value unit(s)?  The LSTs and baby flattops.

It's a small but very important distinction to keep in mind.

the defencive supportships are angled against 1 of 2 threats. air attack or sub attack

Wrong again.  There are three threat axis: Surface, Sub-Surface, and Air.  Always.  And the commander of the CBG will be constantly updating his deployment to deal with the ever-changing threat axis.

this puts the ships with the worst AA outside the AA umbrella...[snip]... the konventional wisdome here is to use Airattacks to either sink the sub hunters or force them in close to the carrier...

Which is relevent only if the ASW and AA threat axis converge.  If they do not (and it's your job as commander to make sure they don't) then there's no problem.

Another issue for your attacking wave of aircraft - where are the escorts?  I mean, where exactly?  Where are your missles going?  Is that where the tin cans will be when the missles arrive?  Can your recon birds find targets for the missles before the CBG has moved out of range?  Can they survive long enough to classify ship types, confirm speed and course, and avoid CAP without being blown to little pieces?

It's not so easy as you'd think.

however the trick is geting through the carriers air screeen with that first airstrike

And $DIETY help you if you don't...

the traditional swedish way to do this is mines...[stuff]

Which is fine for brown water engagements.  Which means you won't have subs around (why risk a $BIGNUM sub hitting a buck-fifty mine?).  Which isn't somewhere your carriers will go anyway.

Mines are ineffectual in open water.  If you're conducting landing operations, you'll have either a dedicated minesweeper or enough helos with high frequency sonar to find the mines.  Clearing mines is simple enough with depth charges.

I must give you credit for your reasoning.  You're making good use of the information you have.  Unfortunately, you lack a whole bunch of information.  :-)

Cheers


Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]

Wow (none / 0) (#148)
by trhurler on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 03:03:20 PM EST

I would not have known you were such an expert on naval matters. Heh. Incidentally, are you sure the torpedoes he's talking about and the ones you're talking about are the same? I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that a combination of Swedish naval doctrine and the technology they're using result in mostly screw hits with torpedoes. But, I don't think it matters, because unless the carrier isn't where you want it, stopping it in the water is more a nuisance than a threat, and the sub that does it is still deader than dead afterward(which I would think would deter this sort of attack without other attacks occurring simultaneously.) Also, I've seen one of those screws in an image that was only partly obstructed, and they're freaking huge. I'm not sure most torpedoes would do much to them.

The biggest thing I think he underestimates, though, is the modern capacity for spotting subs at periscope depth and the speed with which a response could be on the way.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
It's an interest of mine :-) (none / 0) (#175)
by zantispam on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 10:50:42 AM EST

I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that a combination of Swedish naval doctrine and the technology they're using result in mostly screw hits with torpedoes.

Well, yeah.  Anyone wants a stern torp hit.  It's about the only reliable way to sink anything larger than a tin can.

and the sub that does it is still deader than dead afterward(which I would think would deter this sort of attack without other attacks occurring simultaneously.)

I've read a bit about what you've said WRT sub survivability after an ambush, and I'm not so inclined to agree.  The thing is, after a successful attack, the sub driver still has the initiative.  He's got 360 degrees, hopefully a thermocline, and however much depth to use to escape.  Add decoys and spoiling shots and things become more difficult for the CBG.  The worst thing, IMHO, is that the human brain will always try to establish a pattern, no matter how hard you try to convince it to do otherwise.

Example: I'm a crazy sub driver looking to score a hit on the Nimitz.  I come in, make my approach, fire off four fish, dive deep.  Where does the screen commander expect me to go?

Deep and away from the escorts.

Where do I really go?

Just below the layer toward the escorts.  And pray that the noise and confusion will mask the noise the noise I make at 30+ knots at 200 feet down.

I'd say it's even money the sub driver gets away - if he's nervy enough.

Also, I've seen one of those screws in an image that was only partly obstructed, and they're freaking huge. I'm not sure most torpedoes would do much to them.

Who cares about the screws?  I care about causing a leak where the propeller shaft seals to the hull.  That will sink anything unless your damage control is up to snuff.  Even then, you've got a ship dead in the water until you can get divers out to work on it.  Shaft seals are the kind of repair you want to make in drydock, though.

Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]

Two things (none / 0) (#193)
by trhurler on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 03:01:04 PM EST

First of all, I think you're forgetting the sheer number of ships involved. Go under the escorts? And have not a single one of their sonar guys, their MAD gear, and so on notice you? I seriously doubt it. Sneaking past one, maybe. Also, carrier groups have their own subs, and US subs are the fastest thing underwater, so if you give ANY hint or if they have reason to believe they know where you might head next, you're going to play cat and mouse all the way back home, if you live that long. Furthermore, I doubt seriously that the captains of our navy are quite so simpleminded as to assume that a sub guy is always going to do the "obvious" thing.

Second, the US does damage control drills all the time. I'm betting you kill the propulsion if you nail one of those seals, but that's about it. Particularly since the affected compartment is tiny compared to the size of the ship and they've got some pretty serious capacity to pump water out on board these days. Repairs would be a bitch, but staying afloat is probably not a big deal; even with that compartment flooded, the carrier isn't going down.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Two other replys (none / 0) (#244)
by zantispam on Mon Aug 16, 2004 at 11:24:11 AM EST

Go under the escorts? And have not a single one of their sonar guys, their MAD gear, and so on notice you? I seriously doubt it.

Why not?  We've practised doing exactly that for 40+ years.  It's even money.

Also, carrier groups have their own subs, and US subs are the fastest thing underwater, so if you give ANY hint or if they have reason to believe they know where you might head next, you're going to play cat and mouse all the way back home, if you live that long.

Not usually.  USN doctrine is for attack subs to operate alone.  A Virgina hanging around a CBG is quite likely to be shot at.

Now, after the ambush, we'll have an idea as to where you're heading.  Maybe.  Subs are supposed to be holes in the water.  A really bold skipper's not going to disengage until he's out of ammo.

Furthermore, I doubt seriously that the captains of our navy are quite so simpleminded as to assume that a sub guy is always going to do the "obvious" thing.

No.  Which is why you do the 'obvious thing'.  :-)  Or maybe not.  Depends on the situation and the abilities of your boat and her crew.

Second, the US does damage control drills all the time.

s/US/anyone who runs a ship/

Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]

Some nits to pick (3.00 / 2) (#252)
by Your Mom on Wed Aug 18, 2004 at 02:25:58 PM EST

I usually agree with 99% of what you're saying in the thread, but you have a few things wrong.  From a surface perspective:

Ship sonar - if you're running on batteries, I'm not going to hear you.  Period.  If I go active, you're going to know right where I am and stay far enough away to make my job difficult.

MAD gear -  US ships don't have it.  The helo's I carry do, but unless you're close to the surface (something I'm counting on is you to take a look before you shoot).  The only way my helo is going to see you is if I get him to fly directly over top the sub, which requires you to make noise, or for me to get extremely lucky.

DC Training - get real!  I can't speak exactly for a CVN, I've never been stationed on one.  But in the escorts and amphib community, if you hit me with a torpedo, I've got a very good shot at going down.  Yeah, we run drills, but it's going to take luck and a herculean effort to keep you afloat if you put water into a main space.  I know several people that were onboard the COLE at the time of the attack, and for DAYS, she was concentrated on one thing: Staying afloat.  Out at sea, with hostile submarines in the area, once you get hit the first time, the chances of getting hit again (and again and again if neccessary) go up significantly, and the end plays out a little differently than it did for that heroic crew.  Remember, your only goal is to distract me and hopefully turn the lights out.  The much praised Aegis system is worthless if the snipes can't keep the power going to it.

And for Zantispam:  A CVN is going to have to get damn lucky to launch planes with no propulsion.  You still need wind over the bow to launch, and windspeeds of better than 20 knots to land anything.  Pop a stern seal and make me lock a shaft, and you've seriously messed up CAG's day.

--
"As far as I'm concerned, Osama bin Laden can eat a dick." -trhurler
[ Parent ]

Nice (none / 1) (#256)
by zantispam on Thu Aug 19, 2004 at 10:35:22 AM EST

You still need wind over the bow to launch

Isn't that one of the first things a CVN captain is supposed to do if she's hit?  Use whatever momentum is left and come around into the wind?

and windspeeds of better than 20 knots to land anything.

Not necessarily.  If the birds drop ordinance and orbit until the tanks are dry, it's not nearly so much of a problem.

Though I'll agree that a CVN dead in the water throws a wet blanket on combat ops.

Pop a stern seal and make me lock a shaft, and you've seriously messed up CAG's day.

Absolutely.  Are shaft seals even something that can be repaired out of drydock?  I didn't think they could be.

Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]

Right on... (3.00 / 2) (#258)
by Your Mom on Thu Aug 19, 2004 at 11:22:01 AM EST

Isn't that one of the first things a CVN captain is supposed to do if she's hit?  Use whatever momentum is left and come around into the wind?

Yeah, but keeping one bow into the wind is another trick entirely ;-)

Are shaft seals even something that can be repaired out of drydock?  I didn't think they could be.

Unless you're lucky, no.  What you can do is lock the shaft and go on the remaining three.  It lowers your top speed (I don't know about a CVN, on a CG you go from 30+ to 9 or 10)

--
"As far as I'm concerned, Osama bin Laden can eat a dick." -trhurler
[ Parent ]

Solution (none / 0) (#260)
by zantispam on Thu Aug 19, 2004 at 12:43:41 PM EST

Collect all of the condoms on board the CBG.  Inflate; attach all condoms to your next two largest ships.  Use these ships as tugs to keep the CVN pointed into the wind.

:-D

What you can do is lock the shaft and go on the remaining three.

Is there a compartment between the seal and the engine room?  I would think flooding would be a real problem, especially in a combat situation (or if you have developed a vibration on another shaft due to shock damage).

Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]

re: problems (3.00 / 2) (#158)
by caridon20 on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 05:16:32 AM EST

A Charlie class missle sub can really ruin your whole day.  That's what AEGIS is for.
Agreed. But all missile subs I know about are either American or Russian nukes so I ignored them for this talk.

At periscope depth you have three really big problems.
  1.     Possibility of broaching (surfacing unintentionally) in heavy seas.
  2.     The potential to have a P-3 see you.
  3.     Greatly increased chance of getting a MAD return.
True that you have a greater detection range then when totally submerged but my rebuttal was to the idea that a Diesel had to surface. This is not true.


Besides which, (umm, pulls at ass) J-band radars (I think) are designed to detect periscopes.

Do you have a range for this ?  I know that we (Sweden) redesigned our scopes around mid 80's to minimize signature. I don't have data on detectionranges  (slightly classified  :) ).

Figures, please.  Test depth and flank speed submerged, specifically.  I promise they're not as fast nor can they dive as deep as a 688 boat (or a Virginia or an Alfa or a Collins).

http://www.janes.com/defence/naval_forces/news/jfs/jfs010202_collins_sub.shtml
Gotland has about the same speed and dive but shorter range (14+ days instead of 70+ days)
(collins is basicly a lengthed Gotland with a bit more modern electronics)

Torps don't have the guts to really make much of a dent in half-meter thick hulls (well, maybe the brand new 48s and the Spearfish do).  Meaning that unless you're lucky enough to get a stern shot and pop the shaft seals, you're going to need three or four good solid hits.  

The mark 48 and the Swedish Heavy 533 mm torpedo have about the same warhead around 260 kg.  There is a nice film that shows a frigate being hit by 1 mark 48, it breaks and sinks in about 2 minutes. (cant find it unfortunately) the point of a torpedo is not to hit and penetrate like a antitank round. It is to create a large bubble of gas under the vessel so it's on weight breaks it up. Even if that fails  the bottom of the ship will be a total mess because you cant handle the shockwave in the hull (unlike air water does not compress so the shockwave is much stronger from a torpedo hit.) And the Swedish torpedoes will actively go after the screws of a target.   Because then the next torpedo will have a easier time hitting :)


Carriers do 40+ knots.
Even dead in the water carriers can conduct flight operations due to two nifty inventions - the steam catapult and the arresting wire.  You do realize that modern carriers can launch aircraft with a tailwind, right?

This is not what I have heard but my information is a few years old. So I will defer to you. (can you Find a reference to this ?)  But even if you can launch at 0 knots the planes will have a lighter load-out than at 30+ knots.

Wrong again.  There are three threat axis: Surface, Sub-Surface, and Air.  Always.  And the commander of the CBG will be constantly updating his deployment to deal with the ever-changing threat axis.

I count surface attacks with air attacks because they will (in 99% of the cases) use missiles.


Which is relevent only if the ASW and AA threat axis converge.  If they do not (and it's your job as commander to make sure they don't) then there's no problem.

And in a perfect world the enemy is stupid. You can never count on that possibility.  You must always assume enemies from almost any direction.


Another issue for your attacking wave of aircraft - where are the escorts?  I mean, where exactly?  Where are your missles going?  Is that where the tin cans will be when the missles arrive?  Can your recon birds find targets for the missles before the CBG has moved out of range?  Can they survive long enough to classify ship types, confirm speed and course, and avoid CAP without being blown to little pieces?

I only need to know where the group is.  After that I can tell the missiles to pick one type of targets, also if the ASW are on the outside they will be the first ones detected and engaged. Yes the CAP is a major pain but no one said it would be easy :)  I am describing a way it can be done. I'm not saying it will always work.


Which is fine for brown water engagements.  Which means you won't have subs around (why risk a $BIGNUM sub hitting a buck-fifty mine?).  Which isn't somewhere your carriers will go anyway.
Mines are ineffectual in open water.  If you're conducting landing operations, you'll have either a dedicated minesweeper or enough helos with high frequency sonar to find the mines.  Clearing mines is simple enough with depth charges.

Brown water is what our whole sub fleet is about. (we have a defensive navy not a power projecting one) So we learn to avoid mines with our subs. If you avoid getting close and nasty with your carrier then you have seeded the brown water to the enemy.
In that case your landing craft and minesweepers are so much lunch for the enemy subs, planes, costal arty ect. before they can do their jobs.   Helos don't have the range to go from the "safe" blue water to the brown water and have any reasonable tome left to search for mines. And they would have to be supported by lots of CAP to protect from enemy air and AA.    
And trust me on this. Clearing modern mines with depth charges do NOT work.   I spent 18 months on a Landsort class mine hunter, so I know how nasty modern stuff is. (cant tell you more about it)
/C

Dissent is NOT Treason Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
[ Parent ]

This is a reply (none / 1) (#178)
by zantispam on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 11:43:49 AM EST

But all missile subs I know about are either American or Russian nukes so I ignored them for this talk.

Ok.  I included them because cam's topic included force projection in a region that has players who purchase Soviet-era equipment.  Besides, the Collins has the ability to fire Harpoons from the forward tubes.

I think it's relevant.

...my rebuttal was to the idea that a Diesel had to surface. This is not true.

True.  However, a diesel boat snorkeling is very nearly the same thing as a diesel boat surfaced.  In other words, she's much more likely to be detected and/or lose depth control than a nuke would be, since a nuke doesn't need to come to periscope depth.

Do you have a range for this ?

Alas, I do not.  One would expect to find this sort of thing on a helo, however, so that should give you an idea of range (i.e. not much).

I know that we (Sweden) redesigned our scopes around mid 80's to minimize signature.

I think everyone has.  I also would think that those same engineers talk to the engineers who make the surface search radars and tell them how better to detect a stealthy periscope.  I could be wrong.

re: Collins, Gotland figures. (thanks, BTW)

20 knots flank is pretty slow, especially since the escorts can go faster than that.  I didn't notice any depth figures (probably classified).  Meaning that your sub drivers all have to have two big brass ones to take on a CBG.

...frigate being hit by 1 mark 48, it breaks and sinks in about 2 minutes.

Well, yeah.  But that's a frigate, not a carrier (or a cruiser or a battlewagon or...).

the point of a torpedo is not to hit and penetrate like a antitank round. It is to create a large bubble of gas under the vessel so it's on weight breaks it up.

Right.  But my earlier point still stands.  Put 260kg against 50,000 tons of steel, and the steel will win.

And the Swedish torpedoes will actively go after the screws of a target.

Is that a homing thing, or a wire-guided thing?  By which I mean how does the torp know where the rear end of a ship is?  I realise that cavitaion from the screws produces more noise than the bow cutting a wave, but there are also systems out there to mask that signature.  (I don't know this one - genuinely curious here)

can you Find a reference to this ?

Sorry, that figure comes from three friends and two family members who've served aboard carriers.  FWIW, I don't think the Nimitz or the Big E go that fast, but I'm pretty sure the newer ones (Ronald Regan and the like) will.  Sorry I can't firm that up more.

But even if you can launch at 0 knots the planes will have a lighter load-out than at 30+ knots.

True, but the carrier is still an offensive weapon.  You have to take out the flight deck for it to become merely a target.

I count surface attacks with air attacks because they will (in 99% of the cases) use missiles.

I think this is a mistake.  Surface ships and aircraft have different speeds, different ranges of detection (both them looking for you and you looking for them), and different capabilities.  If I know there's a surface group off to the north and an enemy airbase off to the east, I'm going to treat each axis differently because they're both, well, different.  Moreover, airbases don't move.  Ships do.

And in a perfect world the enemy is stupid. You can never count on that possibility.  You must always assume enemies from almost any direction.

Yup.  The whole point though is to manage these threats.  That surface group to the north?  I'm going to try to keep them there and prevent them from figuring out exactly where I am.  If I'm supporting a landing, I'll try to take out that airbase to the east, like yesterday.  Sure, the missles/aircraft from the surface threat can come from any direction, unless I'm playing keep away and actively working on staying at the maximum theoretical non-tanked range of that group.

It's a chess game.  Nothing's static.  Each side will be trying to tilt the board in their favor.

I am describing a way it can be done. I'm not saying it will always work.

Ah.  Ok, here's what I do.  Enforce EMCON over the whole group.  Put my helos up fifteen minutes before I expect your attack (if, (and it's a big 'if') I expect your attack) about a hundred or so miles off the axis of my group.  Turn on their blip enhancers (making them look like ships).  Wait for the missles to arrive, turn off blip enhancers.  Giggle as the missles get confused.  Realize this won't work again, work on getting targeting information for the place where those missles come in.

Second attack from you.  I've changed course and speed so that the missles have to waste fuel trying to find me.  All of my tin cans are floating close to wach other, making them look like bigger targets to the missles.  Missles close to five miles, tin can seperate, lots of chaff goes up.  Pray my group doesn't sustain too many hits.

Third attack from you.  Course and speed have changed again.  Maybe you've told your recon birds or the aircraft group leader to get confirmation on what their shooting at as missles are kind of expensive and we should really be hitting more things.  You find me, launch attack.  Ten miles out, all five of my Tico ships light off their radars one at a time.  Kill lots of missles.

Of course, if you're launching decoys it could really ruin my whole day.

This is fun :-)

re: brown water ASW

I know much less about this, as all of my knowledge centers around blue water engagements.  I do know brown water ASW is a cast iron bitch to do at all, much less to do well.

Of course, if you're expecting the chance of mines, then those baby flattops start looking really attractive for conducting landing operations.  At the very least, you could land a battalion or two of Marines and secure a port while your minesweeper works on the mines.  Secondary objectives would include securing any supporting airbases.

This probably wouldn't work in the face of a good defense in depth.  In that case, I'd throw everything I had at the shore defenses (static and mobile) before trying to land the Marines.

Good thought exercise though.

re: mines

How would depth charges not work on mines?

Thanks for the reply.

Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]

newx comment, (none / 1) (#197)
by caridon20 on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 05:29:35 PM EST

First i think we vill have to take this private. (before the rest of the board gets us for beeing milneards :) )

<I> 20 knots flank is pretty slow, especially since the escorts can go faster than that.  I didn't notice any depth figures (probably classified).  Meaning that your sub drivers all have to have two big brass ones to take on a CBG. </I>

I heard a number a bit over 300 meters. I think the Alphas have 350 as safe depth  so my guess is that most subs are around 300 and the titanium ones get a little more.

<I> Right.  But my earlier point still stands.  Put 260kg against 50,000 tons of steel, and the steel will win.</I>

This is just my point. Can a nimitz class be lifted in the front and aft without breaking. if not it will break.  you remove the water in the middle and there is no boyuncy.
Look at this it is the effect of a mark48
http://www.vetsoutreach.com/GNey/Mark48/

<I>Is that a homing thing, or a wire-guided thing?  By which I mean how does the torp know where the rear end of a ship is?  I realise that cavitaion from the screws produces more noise than the bow cutting a wave, but there are also systems out there to mask that signature.  (I don't know this one - genuinely curious here)</I>

It is a question of math.  you aim for the part that comes last. Only way to avoid is to back the ship. :)

Swedish 533mm (21 inch ?) torps use wire ,passive and active sonar for guidance. (normaly not all at the same time :)

on takeoff speeds: i found  this
This totally steam-driven system can rocket a 45,000-pound plane from 0 to 165 miles per hour in two seconds! (a 20,000-kg plane from 0 to 266 kph)

the hornet weighs in at a bit over 20.000 kg with a full combat load and has a aproachspeed of  248 km/h  so without a headwind you are playing it VERY close :)

<I> Ah.  Ok, here's what I do.  Enforce EMCON over the whole group.  Put my helos up fifteen minutes before I expect your attack (if, (and it's a big 'if') I expect your attack) about a hundred or so miles off the axis of my group.  Turn on their blip enhancers (making them look like ships).  Wait for the missles to arrive ....   </I>

... get a cal from EW saying they detected SW radion slightly to port. Get allert from sonar of mulltiple incoming torps from port, watch as missiles turn 30 degrees left (away from helos and towards group, and goes active,  Swear as you realise that a sub is feeding the airstrike targetcoordinates.

as you said. it's a ches game. and both sides plat to win.  :)

<I>re: brown water ASW

I know much less about this, as all of my knowledge centers around blue water engagements.  I do know brown water ASW is a cast iron bitch to do at all, much less to do well. </I>

I can tell a bit about litorals (we do almost only litorals in RSN.   you have 3 problems extra in litorals.

1) bottom:  some (swedish and german that i know of) subs kan lie on the bottom without problems. most nukes cant because they dont have cruciform rudders.
(look at the picture on the top of the page. http://www.kockums.se/Submarines/gotland.html)
This is a nice way of avoiding detection and confusing torps.  you can also move around an island to mask sound ect.

2) halocline:  Not only do you have to worry about where the thermal layer is you have to wory where the salt layer is and how it interacts with the thermal layer.  makes all sonar a nightmare.

3) marine life: litorals are much noicier than the ocean so hiding a sub is orders of magnitude easier but finding your target is orders of magnitude harder.

short wersion. the blue water is a plain, brown water is a dense forrest.

<I>How would depth charges not work on mines? </I>
nodern mines spend their time on the bottom in a shockresistant and camoflages shell. with only some sensors sticking upp (often the mine has several sensors so if one is  lost you deploy the next)  the mine will only deploy when the target is getting near.  so to get rid of them you have to saturate the place real good (read 1 bomb/25 m2)   its a bit expencive.

And some mines are basicly a torpedo waitin on the bottom. so you have to clear a wide area to be safe.

as for harbours.   there exists a "small" mine in the 150 hk explosives class designed for harbours. and it is basicly imposible to find in the muck that a harbour is.  you wil have to go over every square meter with divers to make the harbour safe
(and then it takes 1 truck and 5 minutes to mine the harbour again) it is probably easier to build a temporary harbour for unloading your troops.

/C
Dissent is NOT Treason Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
[ Parent ]

Actually... (3.00 / 2) (#198)
by SvnLyrBrto on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 09:27:51 PM EST

> Sorry, that figure comes from three friends and two family
> members who've served aboard carriers.  FWIW, I don't think
> the Nimitz or the Big E go that fast, but I'm pretty sure the
> newer ones (Ronald Regan and the like) will.  Sorry I can't firm
> that up more.

The Enterprise is still the fastest carrier ever built.

When she was being designed, the Navy decided to show off; and built her with as many nuclear reactors as the Kitty Hawk class (and the also on the drawing board but not yet named USS Kennedy) had conventional boilers... a total of eight.  As such, The Enterprise is almost absurdly overpowered, and is still the fastest carrier in the fleet.  The Nimitz, and every carrier since, carries only two reactors.

cya,
john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

nitpick (none / 1) (#165)
by caridon20 on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 08:58:05 AM EST

Torps don't have the guts to really make much of a dent in half-meter thick hulls (well, maybe the brand new 48s and the Spearfish do).  Meaning that unless you're lucky enough to get a stern shot and pop the shaft seals, you're going to need three or four good solid hits.

I found the 50cm thick hull rather strange so i broke out my calculator and google.

Nimitz is:

  1. m long (say 300 at the waterlevel.)
  2. m wide att water level.
  3. m draft  
If we simplify this that would give nimitz an area under water of about  300 (length)*2(2 sides) * 22 (length of each side) =13200 meters squared. a 50cm thik hull gives 6600 qubic meters of steel.  
This comes to 51810000 kg steel, or about 51,810 tones of steel
Nimitz displacement is  97,000 tones

Are you telling me that Nimits is using over half her displacement for the weight of the hull under water ? I don't think so :)

(if some one can get the real numbers (or a better calculation) please inform me)

/C
Dissent is NOT Treason Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
[ Parent ]

Actually (none / 0) (#170)
by dj28 on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 09:54:43 AM EST

about half the displacement of the ship in the hull is not strange. How do you think the vessel stays afloat and doesn't topple to one side from being top-heavy?

[ Parent ]
realy ? (none / 0) (#177)
by caridon20 on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 11:11:55 AM EST

I only counted on the weigth of the "skin" of the hull UNDER the water.  If the hull were to be of a uniform thicknes (50cm) over the entire Nimitz it would be a (very bad) submarine.
Just the weight of the flightdeck,  would be about another 55.000 tons of steel.  We are rapidly geting to weights far beyond the actual displacement of the ship.

A more resonable guess is a thikness of about 5cm
that would put the hull weight att about 15-20%  of total weight.

And no you dont need a heavy hull to stop from turning over. you need a well designed hull.
the Wasa proved that :)

/C

Dissent is NOT Treason Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
[ Parent ]

Hrmm (none / 0) (#187)
by zantispam on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 01:22:02 PM EST

Looking around, I think I see the problem.  I've found here where it says that the weight of the stuctural steel is 60,000 tons.  I have no idea where they get that figure, but I hope it would be the department of the Navy.  Anyway, that page also states that the displacement as weight (definition taken from here) of the Nimitz is 97,000 tons.  That means she moves 97,000 tons of water out of the way with her hull.

The displacement as weight of a ship equals the weight of the water displaced.  I don't know enough about it to tell if your figures are correct, but the way you came up with them seems correct.  I don't know if her hull weighs 50,000 tons (wouldn't suprise me if it did).

Anyway, I'll go so far as to say we're splitting hairs.  Even if her hull is only (ha!) a foot thick, which translates to (runs numbers) 4,356m2 of steel and 34,194,600 kg (or 34,000 and change tons), I still think a 260kg torp warhead won't do a whole heck of a lot of damage.

Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]

Well, (none / 0) (#149)
by trhurler on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 03:05:06 PM EST

The other poster replied more capably than I can on this subject. I'll just add one thing. No, you are not going to send a US carrier group into disarray with a mine. Even if they hit the mine, which is unlikely to say the least, the response will be organized and effective. That's what being the US Navy is all about - organized and effective.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Carriers as targets (none / 0) (#120)
by cam on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 08:18:15 AM EST

As for war games, the US routinely lets its allies win these

Hubris. A Collins sub put three torpedos into a USN Carrier on a recent exercise. The ocean is noisy and subs are silent.

US carriers are probably among the safest places on earth.

To the air force carriers are fat, slow, dumb targets. To sub drivers, carriers are fat, dumb, noisy targets.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Which is why (none / 0) (#245)
by physicsgod on Mon Aug 16, 2004 at 01:37:06 PM EST

There's an entire battlegroup designed around protecting the carrier.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
212A (none / 0) (#239)
by nr1 on Sun Aug 15, 2004 at 11:50:42 AM EST

I'm sure there is a lot of propaganda behind it, but supposedly the most advanced conventional sub entering service is the 212A Class.

Attack is not even its primary mission profile but rather information gathering and support of special operations.

[ Parent ]

If Sweden can, (none / 1) (#41)
by tetsuwan on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 03:15:47 PM EST

perhaps a 250 million alliance can?

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Sweden (none / 1) (#48)
by dj28 on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 04:48:59 PM EST

also imports almost everything in order to build their Gripen. BAE and Saab (the two companies who build Gripen) operate a global network of suppliers which could be halted at any time by and number of countries. The article was talking about researching and developing one from the ground up, using natively produced technology and technology from the participating countries.

Just about any country can do what Sweden did. The article is talking about doing what the US does: build a first class fighter completely natively or with nations with similar interests without relying on outside suppliers.

[ Parent ]

Not really (none / 1) (#84)
by tetsuwan on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 04:46:38 AM EST

Sweden has built top rank fighters for 50 years now. The Griffon project was enormous, considering Sweden's military budget. Several billion USD was pumped into the project.

In the sixities, Sweden had the 4th air fighting capability in the world. the industry stems from that time, and has always gotten a disproportionate amount of money to develop new fighters.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Better example(s)? (none / 2) (#49)
by GenerationY on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 05:11:39 PM EST

The Eurofighter Typhoon (EF-2000).
Developed by a four-nation group: UK, Germany, Spain and Italy
(initally France were involved but obvious left to finish up with the Dassault Rafale instead).

Certainly OP is wrong to suggest that Australia has military aviation as a result of the largesse of the USA; they might have bought the Typhoon, the Rafale or the SAAB instead of the JSF.

[ Parent ]

yay! great article! (2.33 / 3) (#25)
by CodeWright on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 06:00:07 AM EST

not only is it very detailed, well-written, and informative, but i agree with the conclusions (with one caveat -- you should note that all real technical innovation in US defense industries comes from small companies that end up partnering with the big contractors to be able to get a seat at the table; these small contractors are far more amenable to providing source code and technology sharing than the big defense companies and could serve a vital role in helping to transition US defense innovations to an indigenous Australian defense industry).

Also, very happy to see another article by cam here (even though you announced leaving some time ago).

i always enjoy reading your work.

--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

you are more anal than an actual anus (none / 1) (#31)
by fleece on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 09:23:00 AM EST

+1



I feel like some drunken crazed lunatic trying to outguess a cat ~ Louis Winthorpe III
Lessons from the Avro Arrow and from the Woomera? (2.80 / 5) (#37)
by geoswan on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 02:44:19 PM EST

Would you like to tell us more about the indigenous Australian fighter industry? You might find this account of the Avro Arrow interesting.

The Arrow was a designed in Canada interceptor. Thanks to your article I decided to look for an article that tackled some of the myths some Canadians believe about the Arrow.

It is true. Some Canadians believe that if we had brought the Arrow to completion, and armed our own air force with them, its obvious superiority would have lead to foreign sales, which would have provided enough revenue to keep Canada in the jet fighter game to this day. And some other Canadians believe that the Arrows would still be superior to today's fighters. They actually think they are in agreement with the first group.



Just by JAS 39 Gripen (none / 1) (#39)
by tetsuwan on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 02:57:41 PM EST

www.gripen.com

The only problem with it is that it's not American but uses American parts. Thus the USA can block its export when they see fit.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance

what? (none / 0) (#191)
by drquick on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 01:44:20 PM EST

The Australians problem is the operating range of current fighter systems. Gripen is a very small plane with small payload and short range. It's directly unsuitable. Btw I couldn't find a mention on Gripens range on the Gripen site. Maybe they try to hide something. Typical of sales and business people.

It seems to be 800 km combat range only.
http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/JAS-39%20Gripen
Australia needs 6000 km

If you ever got to selling Gripen in significant numbers you bet that the USA would use dirty tricks to promote their own arms industry. That's what the arms industry pays bribes ... uh sorry, campaign contributions for.

[ Parent ]

Alternative (none / 1) (#40)
by caridon20 on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 02:58:05 PM EST

(disclaimer im a swede so im partial)
Try the JAS 39 Griffon.

Cheaper than most other planes,
true multirolle
Designed to be flown from reinforced roads not airbases
Served by conscripts with very low turnaround time.

I'm shure we can make a tecnology transfer deal without problems

http://www.canit.se/~griffon/aviation/gripen/
http://home.iae.nl/users/wbergmns/info/jas39.htm

/C
Dissent is NOT Treason Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

Crap range (none / 3) (#53)
by cameldrv on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 05:49:34 PM EST

The Grippen can only make about a 700nm combat radius. This is not good enough for what Australia might want to do with them, and it's certainly not in the same class as an F-111.

[ Parent ]
Crappy range. (none / 2) (#64)
by caridon20 on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 08:59:43 PM EST

If you compare a designated long range bomber with a multi rolle fighter yes the bomber will have better range.
Why dot we get the aussies a couple of backfires, they have better range than the f-111 :)

If you compare the J39 with the JST you get about the same capability for a much lower price.
Add to this the ability to operate from roads and you have a greater flexibility.

if you want long - range strike ability you would have to get the eurofighter or simmilar (att a much higer price.)

/C
Dissent is NOT Treason Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
[ Parent ]

Crap range (none / 0) (#136)
by jolly st nick on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 11:05:57 AM EST

The Grippen can only make about a 700nm combat radius.

I'll say. 7 x 10-7 meters is far to short to be of practical use ;-)

Sorry, that just how my SI trained eyeballs interpreted your post at first glance.

[ Parent ]

Doubleplusgood Militaryspeak (none / 1) (#46)
by calumny on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 04:14:45 PM EST

Pardon the Americentrism, but may I recommend a style guide to military writing? Procure a copy and you too could write and speak with the precision and simplicity that cut through even an eighth grade English education. Learn some survival skills and collect more examples.

Sir, yes sir.

(It would be interesting to know in what capacity the author received his experience with the military.)



Su-34 (3.00 / 4) (#54)
by cameldrv on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 06:15:27 PM EST

The problem is that they just don't make 'em like they used to. The last U.S. true strike fighter was the F-15E. The performance of the JSF is barely better than the F-16 except in terms of stealth. Australia would be better off buying Su-34s from the Russians, which have excellent range, good payload, stealth, and a wide variety of weapons, including the Sunburn missile, which is the best air launched anti-ship missile in the world. Unfortunately, the Su-34 is not compatable with U.S. weapons, which probably makes it unsuitable for Australia, who will want to use JDAMs and U.S. AAMs.

Yep (none / 1) (#56)
by sien on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 06:37:29 PM EST

But Australia could buy the SU-34 and refit it with better avionics and set it up to use American weapons. The resulting aircraft could then be sold to the rest of the world. The problem with this is that the Americans would not appreciate encrouchment onto their turf of being the world's number one arms dealers. Which is also the problem with the idea of Austral-Asian fighter. Australia is probably going into the JSF program because our defence policy rests on us being a close American ally. It should also be noted that Australia has just bought the Abrahms tank instead of the Leopard II. It looks like all these purchases are part of Australia getting a free trade agreement with the US in exchange for support in Iraq and the Middle East.

[ Parent ]
Ya but... (none / 1) (#92)
by DDS3 on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 10:43:18 AM EST

The Abrahms is battle proven in some of the worst conditions a tank can operate; especially given that it uses a turbine. I seem to remember (but would not swear to it; correct as needed, please) that the Leopard II does not have the fancy armour which is only available to the Brits (who invented it) and America. Meaning, even with heavier armor, assuming I remember correctly, it will fail to offer the same protection that the Abrahm has. Toss in the fact that they probably won't have to project power anyplace, and you can ignore the logistics of try to move those monsters across the sea en mass, and I can't say that I see a problem with their selection. The gun range is simply awesome. Accuracy is way up there, in spite of it being a smooth bore cannon. The cannon can defeat any known armor in the world (including Brit and US armor, as friendly fire was proved). I guess I don't see why the M1A2 is a bad pick for them? Why so, in your opinion?

[ Parent ]
Abrams vs. Leo 2 (3.00 / 4) (#116)
by joib on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 03:41:15 AM EST

The Abrahms is battle proven

I'd say that the Abrams and Leo 2 are quite similar in many ways, and Abrams battle experience in plinking 1970-level Soviet hardware manned by unmotivated Iraqi conscripts firing training rounds doesn't IMHO really tell anything about the relative merits of Abrams vs. Leo2.

I seem to remember (but would not swear to it; correct as needed, please) that the Leopard II does not have the fancy armour which is only available to the Brits (who invented it) and America.

I guess you mean the Chobham armor. Chobham is no magic formula, it was just the first usable composite armor to come out of the labs. The exact details are obviously secret, but my understanding is that current versions of both the M1 and the Leo 2 have "3rd generation" composite armors which are superior to the original Chobham stuff. You might be thinking of early versions, where the M1 had Chobham and Leo2 had some kind of spaced steel armor. At that time, the M1 had much better armor protection. Today, I'd say it's a toss.

The gun range is simply awesome. Accuracy is way up there, in spite of it being a smooth bore cannon. The cannon can defeat any known armor in the world (including Brit and US armor, as friendly fire was proved).

You're aware that both the M1 and the Leo2 have the same cannon? In fact newer versions of the Leo2 have a longer barrel (L55), giving higher velocity, whereas older versions and the M1 have the shorter L44 cannon.

I guess I don't see why the M1A2 is a bad pick for them? Why so, in your opinion?

I'd say they are pretty similar. The main difference being the engine. The turbine gives the M1 higher top speed at the expense of a massive fuel consumption and a much bigger IR signature. Maintenance-wise I'd guess the diesel also has the advantage that army repair shops have plenty of experience with diesel engines.

Looking at the map of Australia, most of it is some kind of desert/semi-arid environment. That would suggest that tank operations would include more desert warfare style full-speed operations than in the forests or built-up areas in Europe. Perhaps, in that case, the higher top speed of the turbine outweights the disadvantages.

In the end, I'd say the differences are so small that political, logistical and economic factors decided the outcome instead of the relative merits of the tanks.

[ Parent ]

IMHO, (none / 1) (#137)
by zantispam on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 11:08:59 AM EST

political, logistical and economic factors decided the outcome

At the end of the day, your progress can only be measured by where you stand.  I would say that logistical and economic factors should be the primary concerns when purchasing weapons systems.

One other advantage of the Abrams is how quiet (relatively) it is in comparison to diesel tanks.  Fast, good gun, quiet, well armored.  Good enough for me (though the Leo2 is a great tank, don't get me wrong).

Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]

I agree (none / 1) (#164)
by joib on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 08:31:07 AM EST

I would say that logistical and economic factors should be the primary concerns when purchasing weapons systems.

In the larger picture, yes. Money should of course always be spent where you get the most bang for the buck. E.g. buy some crappy stuff and you might expect high maintenance costs and high combat losses.

My point about leo2 vs. abrams was that from a tactical viewpoint, they are IMHO more or less identical.

[ Parent ]

Ok (none / 0) (#173)
by zantispam on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 10:33:42 AM EST

I've little info on the Leo2, so I can't really comment on that.

I just wanted to make the point that when the rubber hits the road (or tread hits the mud, in this case), it's all about logistics and economics.

Though I agree with your point now that I better understand it.

Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]

I'm Nitpicking... (3.00 / 2) (#140)
by DDS3 on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 12:16:49 PM EST

I'd say that the Abrams and Leo 2 are quite similar in many ways, and Abrams battle experience in plinking 1970-level Soviet hardware manned by unmotivated Iraqi conscripts firing training rounds doesn't IMHO really tell anything about the relative merits of Abrams vs. Leo2.

Well, I really wasn't considering the "plinking" to be part of their proven history, just the same, I do believe it holds merit.  The Abrahms readily proved, in both wars, that they could engage tanks, while on the move and great distances while being highly accurate.  All while the enemy tanks were hidden and dug in, at higher elevations.  This "plinking" does support that they can do exactly what they claim they can do.

What I actually was thinking of, was the fact that our tanks did take direct hits from enemy tanks and the crews survived.  The only situations that I'm aware of, where the crews did not survive where from direct artillary hits and friendly fire.  I'd say, that's battle proven.  In fact, one tank, having taken a direct hit from another tank, simply had to put the fire out, some minor repair, and continued home.  That's friggen tough.

I guess you mean the Chobham armor. Chobham is no magic formula

Yep, that's the stuff.  And I do realize it's not magic.  It was, however, unique in the weapons world for a long time.  And, from what I understand, it's continued to be improved.  I know the formula has been shared with other allies, I just don't recall which ones.  What I do know is that America and Brittan, by far, are supposed to have the best formula available, and they've continued to improve it.

Today, I'd say it's a toss.

Okay, that I didn't realize.  I'll take that statement at face value.

You're aware that both the M1 and the Leo2 have the same cannon?

No, actually I did not know that.  I thought I remembered the Leo2 having a longer and rifled bore.

giving higher velocity, whereas older versions and the M1 have the shorter L44 cannon

Well, that does make for good bragging rights, but the M1's cannon can already defeat all known armors out to its maximum range.  Anything beyond that is bragging range.  Of course, perhaps the extra velocity does allow for more accuracy at range, in high wind conditions.  Perhaps it does allow for better bunker penetration at range too.  I dunno.  But for tank to tank engagements, I'm not sure it's going to buy you much other than bragging rights.  Which is not to say, there is anything wrong with bragging rights.  ;)

Looking at the map of Australia, most of it is some kind of desert/semi-arid environment. That would suggest that tank operations would include more desert warfare style full-speed operations than in the forests or built-up areas in Europe. Perhaps, in that case, the higher top speed of the turbine outweights the disadvantages.

You bring up an intersting point.  Has the Leo2 been proven to reliably function in arid/desert conditions?  The Abrahm is not only proven, but battle proven in such conditions.  To the best of my knowledge (please, correct as needed), the Leo2  is not battle proven at all, let alone in the worst of the worst conditions.

In the end, I'd say the differences are so small that political, logistical and economic factors decided the outcome instead of the relative merits of the tanks.

In the end, it sounds like we have a proven tank versus a tank which looks good on paper and maybe even in practice.  But, it's hard to dismiss the M1's record.  I can imagine only fools doing so.

I only started this thread because I got the impression that it was somehow a mistake to of picked the M1.  While I won't argue that hte Leo2 is a bad tank (I don't think it is), it's not like the M1 is a bad tank either.  At the end of the day, they're getting a world class, battle proven tank, which has political perks from one of the largest nations in the world.  I'm not seeing a downside here.


[ Parent ]

more nitpicking... (3.00 / 2) (#146)
by joib on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 02:19:41 PM EST

The Abrahms readily proved, in both wars, that they could engage tanks, while on the move and great distances while being highly accurate. All while the enemy tanks were hidden and dug in, at higher elevations. This "plinking" does support that they can do exactly what they claim they can do.

Well, I'd be very surprised if the Leo2 wouldn't be able to do this as well; it's quite easy to test this capability on the firing range.

What I actually was thinking of, was the fact that our tanks did take direct hits from enemy tanks and the crews survived. The only situations that I'm aware of, where the crews did not survive where from direct artillary hits and friendly fire. I'd say, that's battle proven. In fact, one tank, having taken a direct hit from another tank, simply had to put the fire out, some minor repair, and continued home. That's friggen tough.

My point was that this doesn't really tell much about the quality of the armor; the Iraqis fired training rounds made of steel that broke up upon impact instead of penetrating.

Yep, that's the stuff. And I do realize it's not magic. It was, however, unique in the weapons world for a long time. And, from what I understand, it's continued to be improved. I know the formula has been shared with other allies, I just don't recall which ones. What I do know is that America and Brittan, by far, are supposed to have the best formula available, and they've continued to improve it.

Of course, exact details are not available from unclassified sources; however the current consensus is AFAIK pretty much what you can find on the web here for the M1 and the Leo 2. You can see that the armor ratings are pretty much identical for the current versions (also note how much they have improved since the original versions!).

About the cannon, the webpages above mention that the DU ammo used by the US is better than the tungsten ammo used by the Germans, thus the Germans need the longer barrel to compensate.

Has the Leo2 been proven to reliably function in arid/desert conditions?

That's no problem. Plenty of diesel powered vehicles, including tanks, operate in desert conditions with no or only minor modifications. If anything needs to be done, it's adding a better air intake filter (wouldn't want sand in the engine, eh?), and possibly bigger radiators. And perhaps a better cooling system for the crew compartment. No big surgery necessary.

To the best of my knowledge (please, correct as needed), the Leo2 is not battle proven at all

AFAIK, you're correct. I've seen pictures of leo2:s as part of KFOR in former Yugoslavia, but I'd hardly call that battle proven. However, I'd like to make a distinction between battle proven and "battle proven". During WWII, for example, new equipment was thrown into battle in thousands as soon as it was somewhat close to being ready. It didn't take long for the designers of the Sherman to see that "gee, lots of these tanks tend to brew due to ammo fires, lets do something", hence the wet storage of later Shermans. By comparison, very few M1 tanks have been lost. How do you make the distinction between a freak one in a million hit and a true vulnerability? It's easier when you have more data points. Also, both the M1 and the Leo2 have by now had about two decades to mature so there's no teething troubles anymore (cause of many WWII losses).

At the end of the day, they're getting a world class, battle proven tank, which has political perks from one of the largest nations in the world. I'm not seeing a downside here.

Absolutely, I agree 100 %.

[ Parent ]

more, more?! ;) (none / 1) (#186)
by DDS3 on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 01:16:48 PM EST

My point was that this doesn't really tell much about the quality of the armor; the Iraqis fired training rounds made of steel that broke up upon impact instead of penetrating.

Um, no.  The footage I saw was clearly a HE, HEAP, or something of that nature.  It was not a "training round".

About the cannon, the webpages above mention that the DU ammo used by the US is better than the tungsten ammo used by the Germans, thus the Germans need the longer barrel to compensate.

Ahh.  Okay, I didn't know this.  You're a great resource!  :)

That's no problem. Plenty of diesel powered vehicles, including tanks, operate in desert conditions with no or only minor modifications. If anything needs to be done, it's adding a better air intake filter (wouldn't want sand in the engine, eh?), and possibly bigger radiators. And perhaps a better cooling system for the crew compartment. No big surgery necessary.

I hear ya.  I agree with you.  But that's the difference between being battle proven and theoretical.  ;)

I think we're on the same page.  I would like to say thanks for providing additional details and actually being helpful, versus combative.  Both of which are very rare here.  A good exchange, is a nice change.

[ Parent ]

deserts (none / 0) (#166)
by nh1 on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 09:06:28 AM EST

Looking at the map of Australia, most of it is some kind of desert/semi-arid environment. That would suggest that tank operations would include more desert warfare style full-speed operations than in the forests or built-up areas in Europe. Perhaps, in that case, the higher top speed of the turbine outweights the disadvantages.

It's true but irrelevant that most of Australia is desert. If Australian tanks are facing an enemy in Australia we're pretty much screwed, if an invader (i.e. Indonesia, China, countries with populations 5-50 times ours) was able to get a beachhead and land an army, it's over. Australian tanks would be fighting overseas if at all.

[ Parent ]

Hmmm... (3.00 / 3) (#231)
by DDS3 on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 11:54:53 AM EST

if an invader (i.e. Indonesia, China, countries with populations 5-50 times ours) was able to get a beachhead and land an army, it's over.

Well, not when you consider modern warfare.  Modern tanks can easily hold their own against much larger counts of older tanks.

Australian tanks would be fighting overseas if at all.

I'm not sure it's safe to completley ignore a country's defensive requirements.

[ Parent ]

less on practicality than sheer niftiness (none / 1) (#71)
by mjfgates on Sun Aug 08, 2004 at 11:19:48 PM EST

This sounds like a great idea, if only because a new-technology aircraft that can fulfill the same role as the F-111 would be way cool.

Nice writeup, but economic analysis is far off (3.00 / 6) (#86)
by joib on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 08:11:41 AM EST

This indigenous capability was slowly lost as Australian industry became less and less involved in the aircraft Australia purchased.

Now why did that happen? Did the government perhaps realize that maintaining an industry capable of designing and building world-class military aircraft is pretty expensive, and unless you can recoup the development costs by selling shitloads of those aircraft abroad, it's cheaper to buy them from abroad?

Australian applied scientists and engineers are more than the equal of any other nations.

Nationalistic BS. I'm sure that aussie engineers are plenty good, but to imagine that they would be substantially better or worse than their counterparts in the US, EU, Japan etc. is just sticking your head in the sand.

It is time the aerospace industry received the same confidence and oppurtunities from the Australian government and people as the maritime industries have.

Why? If the aussie aerospace industry would have a comparative advantage, they wouldn't need government support, now wouldn't they?

Australian aerospace companies, applied scientists and engineers will produce an aircraft that is dominant in its field, economic to develop and maintain; as well as innovative technologically.

And pigs will fly one day.. Now, I have no doubts that Australia, or any reasonable sized high-tech country, could produce a pretty good military aircraft (dominant is perhaps stretching it a bit). However most countries, Australia included, have chosen not to do this as doing this is hugely expensive as the market for military aircraft is very small.

The increasing capitalisation costs of the defence industry have led to the US government putting fewer contracts out to bid for system development. This has led to the consolidation of the US defence industries into a few monstrous behemoths including Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, McDonnell-Douglas and Raytheon.

And this has happened largely because the expense of developing a top of the line military aircraft is absolutely mind-blowing, and growing. At the same time production numbers keep going down. This forces the small players out of the market. Now, in light of this, why do you think that the by comparison microscopic Australian aerospace industry and it's market in the Australian AF might be able to produce a plane economically?

The downside of this consolidation is that these companies are large enough and sufficiently devoted to their main client, the Pentagon, that they can ignore many requests from a small purchaser like Australia.

No, they don't ignore Australia. It's just that with ever increasing development costs and dimishing volume, Australia can't justify coughing up the cash needed for some product optimized for Australian requirements, compared to bying off the shelf.

Argentina was placed in a similar position during the Falklands War when it was unable to replenish its inventory of Exocet missiles.

Now this brings up another interesting point. Today, warfare is pretty much come-as-you-are. Face it, we're never again going to see a WWII-style ramp-up of the defense industry producing tens of thousands of planes, tanks etc. per year. Modern military hardware, by comparison, is incredibly complex, and takes a lot of time to build at the very few high-tech factories capable of producing it. The only things you can expect to produce in any significant numbers in a modern war is stuff like ammunition, fuel, food etc.

Australia requires a sustainable and independent force. The powerful place that American defence companies have on Australian weapon systems is not in the ADF's long term interests. Expanding Australia's indigenous defence industries alleviates this reliance.

Umm, yeah. You know that poster child of self-reliance? Hint: You can find it on the world map, it's located between South Korea and China. They live in over-abundance, now don't they? Now open an economics 101 textbook and repeat after me: Trade is good.

The Australian Defence Force should be independent and sustainable. One that is not reliant on an outside military for any capability.

*Chorus* All hail the great leader Kim-Jong-Il! May his wisdom lift our spirits!

*hint* Even the US military buys some stuff from abroad.

The development cost for the F/A-22 was nineteen billion USD over twelve years, for the JSF it is expected to be over twenty-five billion USD

Heh, and the JSF was supposed to be the low-cost version of the F-22, built with technology already developed for the F-22.

The Australian defence budget is approximately 1.9% GDP which is on the low side compared to the British 2.5% and American 3.5%.

So? Britain still has a bit of the "glory of the empire"-thing left that they try to defend now and then, the US wants to play the world police. You have 1000 nm (?) water in every direction you look, and no credible military threat. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me to spend taxpayer money on some other things instead.

If Australia was to develop a strike platform the cost could be expected to add approximately three billion AUD to the Australian defence budget each year. If Australia was an equal partner in developing a new strike platform, this cost would drop to approximately an extra one and half billion each year. This money would be going directly to Australian industry. By comparison, the cost of purchasing one hundred JSF aircraft is expected to be eighty billion AUD with most of the money heading off-shore.

You wouldn't get it that cheap. Not by a long shot. Consider that the US (and EU and Russia, to a lesser extent) already have world-class capability in all areas of aerospace; turbines, avionics, radars, weapons, high-strength alloys, composites as well as universities producing the people needed to keep all this running. And lets not forget that the US and EU also have big civilian aerospace sectors (big volume, big profits etc.), who can share much of the basic research costs. To develop the JSF, the US has to spend 25 billion in addition to all that already existing knowledge infrastructure they have.

To build all that infrastructure only to build your strike aircraft would not only take decades, it would also be astronomically expensive. You'd spend hundreds of billions, if not trillions, before you could even get to the starting line with the US.

Private companies are unwilling to spend large amounts of high risk capital on research and development in the applied science and engineering fields. It is a risky long term investment and private industry is focused on short term returns for shareholders.

Yes, private companies spend less on R&D than what can be considered socially optimal, but the reason given above is not it. However, this is off-topic so lets not dwell any further on it.

All this being said, I find myself in agreement with you in that the JSF is not a particularly good replacement for the F-111. The Su-34 with western avionics would probably be a good choice, but certainly not politically feasible.

Well said... (none / 0) (#91)
by DDS3 on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 10:32:25 AM EST

This is the best, most logical, well reasoned, sane reply I've read here in a very long time. Well said. The author has a pipe dream, whereby nationalism appears to be clouding his judgement. The economics and expertise are simply not there and as you pointed out, the infrastructure is clearly missing too. Again, well said.

[ Parent ]
Economic reasoning flawed (none / 1) (#95)
by Br4nM4n on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 02:42:03 PM EST

Anyone else notice the little sleight-of-hand with the numbers? "The cost to DEVELOP a new strike fighter would be about 3 Billion per year <me: For how long? 10 years? more?>, while to PURCHASE 100 JSFs would take 80 Billion". Notice how he cites costs to develop an aircraft and compares that to the funds to acquire the aircraft? In reality, he's talking about spending 30+ Billion (15+ if they can get other nations to chip in half), waiting 10 years, and then spending probably another 120 Billion (given the time frame, and lack of mass production efficiencies) to actually acquire 100 aircraft (using his example). With no guarantee that the aircraft will meet their goals or performance requirements (while the JSFs capabilities are almost completely known). Just whack whoever in the government is being an idiot with a clue-by-four and get some more friggin' tankers. They won't be 15 Billion a pop, you don't have to keep all of them in the air at once (so little added drain on manpower and maintenance costs) and will leave you more flexible all around.

[ Parent ]
Big Numbers vs Big Numbers (none / 0) (#122)
by cam on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 08:40:58 AM EST

Notice how he cites costs to develop an aircraft and compares that to the funds to acquire the aircraft?

I was quoting big numbers, the thought of a 25 billion development phase isnt so large a number when you consider that Australia will spend 80 billion on the JSF. Yes they are comparing different things, the development phase to the production phase.

Australia committed 150 million in 2002 to the development phase of the JSF. So it is already paying for part of the development process, I dont know what it has contributed in 2003/2004.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Australian Economy and Foreign Policy (none / 1) (#121)
by cam on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 08:36:15 AM EST

Did the government perhaps realize that maintaining an industry capable of designing and building world-class military aircraft is pretty expensive, and unless you can recoup the development costs by selling shitloads of those aircraft abroad, it's cheaper to buy them from abroad?

Australia has a mixed defence/foreign-policy model known as the "Great and Powerful Friends" doctrine. Basically it means that Australian will become subservient in foreign policy to the largest superpower in return for defence and security.

As an example, in a recent UN vote, only the US, Australia, Israel and a couple of micro-states voted to allow Israel to have fences through Palestine. This was a stupid vote, but gives an excellent insight into how pathetic Australian defence and foreign policy is.

The other component is that Australia buys equipment and platforms from that "great and powerful friend" so that the ADF can slot into the other military transparently. This is why Australia bought the Abrams tanks that dated back to the first gulf war. They came from the US bargain bin and the US saw a dumb buyer coming along. They are an embarrassment. Again, giving that set of requirements to Australian industry would have given a tank that meets Australian strategic needs rather than an American rust-bucket from the 1980's.

That aerospace capability was not lost because it was too expensive, it was traded away by thoughtless politicians more concerned about sticking their tongues up the US's bum, than in ensuring their is a vibrant high-tech and aerospace infustry in Australia to build weapon systems and platforms that meet Australia's strategic needs.

It is obvious that American and European defence industries are not meeting Australian needs, so the only option becomes do it yourself, or find like minded people to partner with.

Why? If the aussie aerospace industry would have a comparative advantage, they wouldn't need government support, now wouldn't they?

American aerospace only exists because it sucks from the teet of government contracts. Look at the recent legislation to lease a tanker fleet from Boeing. That is pork. Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon etc would not exist without the huge contracts the US Government and Pentagon put out to bid.

Aerospace is a capital intensive industry that has short runs, the only customer with that kind of money and patient enough is a government.

Modern military hardware, by comparison, is incredibly complex, and takes a lot of time to build at the very few high-tech factories capable of producing it.

That was not the lesson from the Falklands War though. The Argentine skyhawks with exocets were the biggest threat to the Royal Navy. By Britain putting political pressure on France to stop supplying the Argentinians with exeocets it effectively nullified that threat. Argentina only had a small inventory of them on hand.

It is the danger of being reliant on an outside supplier and vendor.

You know that poster child of self-reliance?

Australia is a trading nation, there is no danger of economic stagnation. Australia does need a sustainable defence force that needs Australia's strategic needs. That is not happening now, only investment in Australian defence industries will enable that. The ADF needs to be free from having its capability crimped or dictated by outside suppliers that do not have Australia's best interests.

Consider that the US (and EU and Russia, to a lesser extent) already have world-class capability in all areas of aerospace; turbines, avionics, radars, weapons, high-strength alloys, composites as well as universities producing the people needed to keep all this running.

You under-estimate Australian industry and the micro-weaponry and systems Australian defence already produces. Quantative advantage does not equal qualitative advantage.

Australia also has Universities that produce graduates in high-tech disciplines. Australia is a modern first world economy and culture. I do not see how you can imagine that the EU and US have educational advantages over Australia?

The other advantage of capitalism is that where there is money, companies will rush to bid for it. Australian industry will go where the money is, and the labor with the prerequisite skills will follow. I see no issue in putting the existing high-tech skills and knowledge in Australia to work on a new macro-weaponry project.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Basic economics.. (none / 1) (#157)
by joib on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 03:42:08 AM EST

Basically it means that Australian will become subservient in foreign policy to the largest superpower in return for defence and security.

That's stretching it a bit, I'd say. Australia has remained close allies with Great Britain and the US ever since it gained independence.

This is why Australia bought the Abrams tanks that dated back to the first gulf war. They came from the US bargain bin and the US saw a dumb buyer coming along. They are an embarrassment. Again, giving that set of requirements to Australian industry would have given a tank that meets Australian strategic needs rather than an American rust-bucket from the 1980's.

That's just ridiculous. While we can debate the finer points of Abrams vs. Leo2 vs. other top of the line tanks until the sun burns out, there's no denying that the Abrams is among the very best tanks ever made. Also consider that as you bought used tanks, you get the US armor package; you don't have to accept the inferior export armor. So you get one of the very best tanks ever made at a bargain price; I see no reason to whine about it.

That is pork.

And you think that the Australian defence sector is free of pork? Excuse me while I LMAO.

That was not the lesson from the Falklands War though.

That was exactly the lesson: Modern warfare is come-as-you-are. I.e. don't expect significant reinforments of high-tech stuff during a war.

The Argentine skyhawks with exocets were the biggest threat to the Royal Navy. By Britain putting political pressure on France to stop supplying the Argentinians with exeocets it effectively nullified that threat. Argentina only had a small inventory of them on hand.

It is the danger of being reliant on an outside supplier and vendor.

No, you miss the point again. An Anti Ship Missile (ASM), in 1982 at least, is a pretty high-tech item. Argentina at that time didn't have the infrastructure nor the know-how to produce such a thing at reasonable cost. Thus the choice they had was not a foreign ASM or a domestic ASM, but rather a foreign ASM or no ASM.

Probably the Argentinians expected that the Brits wouldn't dare try taking the Falklands back, i.e. that the mere threat of the Exocet (among other things) would be enough. Well, the Brits called their bluff and they didn't have enough ASM:s for a real shooting war. Shit happens.

Australia is a trading nation, there is no danger of economic stagnation.

There are many shades of gray, not just black and white. North Korea is perhaps the extreme example of what happens when you take self-reliance too far. If the Australian government starts pissing away serious amounts of money at an industry that won't produce competetive products, the Australian economy WILL be hurt.

The ADF needs to be free from having its capability crimped or dictated by outside suppliers that do not have Australia's best interests.

The ADF may "need" this or that, but in real life (TM) you have to take into account what you can, and what you can't, afford. Money doesn't grow on trees.

Quantative advantage does not equal qualitative advantage.

In R&D, it does. If you spend more money on R&D, you will have a better product.

Australia also has Universities that produce graduates in high-tech disciplines. Australia is a modern first world economy and culture. I do not see how you can imagine that the EU and US have educational advantages over Australia?

As I said, I consider Australian engineers to be approximately as good as their American and European collegues.

The thing is, in aerospace the EU and the US have an advantage, not because they are smarter, but because they have a quite significant headstart, and their governments spend lots of money on aerospace R&D.

Keep in mind that currently both the EU and US have mature civilian and military aerospace sectors. They have lots of products they sell all over the world, bringing in much needed revenue. Until the domestic Australian reaches the same mature level, it's on government life-support ( = lots of taxpayer money).

That is, to get on par with the USA and EU, you'd have to spend an insane amount of money to catchup. Once you have done that, you'd have to continuously spend about equally much as they do, just to be a player in the game.

Consider that the GDP of the USA is about $11 trillion, while the GDP of Australia is $570 billion. Thus, if the US spends X % of GDP on military aerospace research yearly, you'd have to spend 19*X % of your GDP if you want to play their game. I.e. it's a much bigger drain on your budget than on theirs.

Now, do you think that you can, with your by comparison small economy, outspend the Americans or the Europeans? No, I didn't think so either.

I see no issue in putting the existing high-tech skills and knowledge in Australia to work on a new macro-weaponry project.

If you see no issue there, I recommend you pick up an economics 101 textbook.

[ Parent ]

Existing industry and adhoc capability (none / 0) (#168)
by cam on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 09:25:52 AM EST

That's stretching it a bit, I'd say. Australia has remained close allies with Great Britain and the US ever since it gained independence.

Study Australian defence and foreign policy, the "great and pwoerful friends" doctrine has been the dominant policy since Billy Hughes uses it to get a seat at Versailles in 1919. Robert Menzies and John Howard are the two worst proponents of it.

As to independence, I assume you mean federation in 1901. It was only in 1984 with the Australia Act that the highest court in Australia became Australian, previous to that it was the Privy Council in Britain.

there's no denying that the Abrams is among the very best tanks ever made.

Australia doesnt do "Operation Desert Storm", it does things like East Timor and the Solomons. If Australia lined up its 20 year old Abrams next to the US 1st Armoured Divisions new Abrams, Australia would be politely told to go to the rear and protect the logistical trains. the only reason to buy them is to slot into US operations, and if you buy 20 year old equipment, the US wont allow it to be used in the opening vangaurd. It is a waste of money.

Australia can only afford 59 of them, so again there is a loss of capability from the 100 Leopards it had. They do not have uranium depleted armour. Hugh White who heads the Australian Strategic Policy Institute thinks they are a mistake as well;

Hugh White: Well you've got to plan your defence forces not just against the things you think are most likely to happen but also against some of the more extreme possibilities. But you're right when you say that the Australian army's done all sorts of very important work in places like Somalia and Afghanistan and Cambodia and East Timor of course and today in the Solomons. As you say, they're pretty busy, and even in Iraq, without having to deploy with their tanks. Now I can easily imagine circumstances at the higher end of the conflict spectrum, where it might be important for the army to take tanks with them. But my own hunch is that the kind of tanks we've got at the moment, the Leopards, would be adequate for the kind of role that we'd be looking at the tanks to perform. There's two ways you can use tanks: the first is, to essentially support infantry and what are primarily infantry operations and the second is to see the tanks as the heart of a highly mobile, fast-moving armoured formation. Now our conception of how you use tanks in the Australian Army is very much the former; we're basically an infantry army, and you use tanks to support those infantry. The Abrams are really designed around the latter concept, that is, the idea of the tanks as the heart of the cutting edge of a major armoured formation. That's what the Americans use them for because the Abrams, if you like, are the last of the great Cold War tanks designed to fight the big Cold War battle that everyone expected or feared, the sort of Battle of Armageddon on the plains of northern Europe, which thankfully never happened. And I guess my concern about the decision to move to the Abrams is that I don't quite see how Australia's strategic priorities need that kind of tank in our present strategic circumstances.

If the Australian government starts pissing away serious amounts of money at an industry that won't produce competetive products, the Australian economy WILL be hurt.

Garbage. It isnt pissing it away as it is spending it on a direct Australian strategic need. The Australian defence budget actually made a 700 million profit last year, it had 700 million it was not able to spend. That falls inline with the amount of money for development I mentioned in the article.

Companies go to where the money is, there is an aerospace industry in Australia now, it just doesnt do macro-weaponry. The 25 billion the government would send into private industry for a macro-weapon wold build on the existing high tech and aerospace industries.

Your knowledge of Australia is very limited.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Please... (none / 0) (#207)
by joib on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 12:46:05 PM EST

Study Australian defence and foreign policy, the "great and pwoerful friends" doctrine has been the dominant policy since Billy Hughes uses it to get a seat at Versailles in 1919. Robert Menzies and John Howard are the two worst proponents of it.

And, how does that counter the claim I made?

As to independence, I assume you mean federation in 1901.

Yep, that's what I meant.

Australia doesnt do "Operation Desert Storm", it does things like East Timor and the Solomons.

I.e. police operations. Admittedly, if that's the only threat you're taking into account, then I guess tanks are overkill. As is a supersonic bomber, for that matter.

If Australia lined up its 20 year old Abrams next to the US 1st Armoured Divisions new Abrams

... there wouldn't be much difference. The newest Abrams (A2) has slightly improved armor and better electronics than the A1 Australia is getting. No major difference, and if you want you can always add improved electronics yourself.

Australia would be politely told to go to the rear and protect the logistical trains. the only reason to buy them is to slot into US operations, and if you buy 20 year old equipment, the US wont allow it to be used in the opening vangaurd.

So, the next time the US digs itself down in some third world hellhole, you get political points by helping them out without actually risking your troops in front line duty. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me!

It is a waste of money.

I have to admit, I was quite surprised by the quoted $10 million each price you're paying. Especially considering that Finland recently bought used Leopard 2A4 tanks for about EUR 500 000 each. Poland got an even better deal, about 100 000 EUR each, but that's probably related to the fact that Poland is sort of the first line of defence for Germany and also a new, and poor, NATO member.

Australia can only afford 59 of them, so again there is a loss of capability from the 100 Leopards it had.

Umm, no. 59 Abrams can easily wipe the floor with 100 Leopards under any remotedly realistic battle scenario.

Additionally, if you can barely afford to buy a modest number of used tanks, how on earth do you think you're going to afford spending hundreds of billions on developing and bying a new supersonic bomber?

They do not have uranium depleted armour.

I wasn't aware of that. Did the US refuse to sell it, or did your government have some kind of radioactiveness paranoia? Either way, even with the export armor the M1 isn't a bad tank.

Now to comment on Mr. Whites points:

Well you've got to plan your defence forces not just against the things you think are most likely to happen but also against some of the more extreme possibilities.

Exactly. For police operations like East Timor, some armored personell carrier is in many ways the best choice. However, when the shit hits the fan (e.g. if some East Timor like situation escalates into a real shooting war with Indonesia), you wan't real firepower. For that, I'd rather have 59 Abrams than 100 Leopards.

the first is, to essentially support infantry and what are primarily infantry operations

Uh, what is he smoking? Using tanks for infantry support turned out to be a waste of their capabilities already in WWII.

the second is to see the tanks as the heart of a highly mobile, fast-moving armoured formation.

Yeah baby. THAT's the way to use tanks. Not as mobile pillboxes.

And now back to our regularly scheduled bickering:

It isnt pissing it away as it is spending it on a direct Australian strategic need.

Ok, if "piss away" makes you blow a fuse, by all means replace it with "spend".

My point was that from an economic perspective, defence spending is a waste. Yes, I'm aware that a military seems necessary for a stable society, but my point is that the less a government spends on the military, the more can be spent on things that improve the quality of life of the populace (like schools, reduced taxes, stuff that cause economic growth, etc.).

The Australian defence budget actually made a 700 million profit last year, it had 700 million it was not able to spend.

Defence budgets don't "make a profit", they just spend ("piss away", "waste" if you like) less taxpayer money than expected.

Companies go to where the money is, there is an aerospace industry in Australia now, it just doesnt do macro-weaponry. The 25 billion the government would send into private industry for a macro-weapon wold build on the existing high tech and aerospace industries.

*Sigh* I have already explained this thing.. I'm not dissing Australia or Australian engineers or anything Australian, but you know, there's a reason that only the absolutely biggest and richest nations have been able to produce world-class military aircraft during the past 30 or so years. It's just so friggin expensive that it puts a huge dent in the budget of any nation, thus only the absolutely richest can afford it.

Your knowledge of Australia is very limited.

Oooh, nothing like an ad hominem to show that you've run out of factual arguments.

[ Parent ]

Foreign Policy and Regional Capability (none / 0) (#223)
by cam on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 08:51:29 AM EST

And, how does that counter the claim I made?

Your sole rebuttal of the "great and powerful friends doctrine", a doctrine which has been in place for a century in Australia was ; That's stretching it a bit, I'd say. Australia has remained close allies with Great Britain and the US ever since it gained independence.. Sheehan has an article on the thinking process that affects Australian government; Why we're all the way with the USA

Admittedly, if that's the only threat you're taking into account, then I guess tanks are overkill. As is a supersonic bomber, for that matter.

On the contrary, it was the projection power of the F111 that allowed the INTERFET operation to East Timor to happen. Without that deterrent, there was no way that Indonesia would have allowed it, and the likelihood of open hostilities were real. As I said in a previous reply to you, Australia moved its F111's to the Northern Territory as a clear signal of Australia being prepared to protect East Timor with the F111's strike capability.

Moving six JSF's to the Northern Territory is like moving six pawns around, moving the F111 is like putting the Queen in a position to strike.

So, the next time the US digs itself down in some third world hellhole, you get political points by helping them out without actually risking your troops in front line duty. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me!

It is a fools errand, from Richard Woolcott on the Australian deployment to Iraq;

The reality is that Australia's presence, however capable and efficient our forces, can make no meaningful contribution to the two major objectives: the reconstruction of that country and the establishment of a viable democratic government there.

Australia has not put enough troops, enough police or enough money into Iraq to make Iraq stable and secure. Australian success is dependant on American success. The Bush administration has shown a lot of incompetence in handling Iraq and Afghanistan. Australian is dependant on Bush getting it right. A precarious position to put your nation if you are the Australian PM.

However, when the shit hits the fan (e.g. if some East Timor like situation escalates into a real shooting war with Indonesia), you wan't real firepower. For that, I'd rather have 59 Abrams than 100 Leopards.

Well they have to be shipped over, and then only 30 of them. Plus they have to fight in jungles, not deserts or European plains. The F111 would have destroyed Indonesian command and control capability before the 30 Abrams even got to Garden Island to be shipped off.

Defence budgets don't "make a profit", they just spend ("piss away", "waste" if you like) less taxpayer money than expected.

I am fully aware of that. How often to do you see government beaurocracies not being able to spend their budget?

nothing like an ad hominem to show that you've run out of factual arguments.

No, an ad hominem would have been if I put that statement first and used your not being Australian, or knowledgeable on Australia to discount all your other points. It was an observation based on your knowledge of Australian affairs in your replies.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Too expensive for defense (none / 0) (#93)
by Anonymous Hiro on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 10:57:18 AM EST

Sure you'll still need some military type craft to handle pirates and small-timers, but if you're not one of the Big Boys, what's the point buying or building all that expensive/high capital stuff?

The only reason you'd need all that high end military stuff is for having a conventional offensive war. AFAIK most countries say their military stuff is all for defense, blahblahblah.

If it's for defense, why not just use the money required to develop, make and maintain one or two super high tech planes/bombers, to train and equip a thousand or so Freedom Fighters instead. And then tell the world - if you attack me, I'll screw up your country really badly.

These freedom fighters will take the battle to whichever country that took over your country (or even nukes it). Why fight in your homeland when you can fight in the enemy's?

Borders are porous. Drugs, smuggled goods, contraband they get through all the borders I've seen except for really small nations (who are usually no threat anyway).

The Al-Qaeda has proven that just a few dedicated people minimally equiped can do a fair amount of damage to the most powerful nation in the world.

Think what 1000 or 10,000 trained and well equipped freedom fighters can do. Dams, power stations, telco exchanges, other critical infrastructure, concentrations of political/economic power. Even China has a huge dam... While you're at it plant two snipers in each major city to patiently take out high profile targets.

Imagine if you're Thailand and China attacks you. There's no way you can stop a few hundred thousand chinese soldiers from overrunning your country. So you might as well let them take over your country (with a bit of a fight), and then get a few hundred "special forces" to infiltrate China, wait for a while and then strike.

Think of it as a poor man's "Mutually Assured Destruction" programme.

A major problem with this approach is if the 1000 or so decide to take over their OWN country, it'll be hard to stop them... ;).


some borders are porous (none / 1) (#107)
by khallow on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 09:19:24 PM EST

Borders are porous. Drugs, smuggled goods, contraband they get through all the borders I've seen except for really small nations (who are usually no threat anyway).

Don't make the mistake of confusing the US or EU's wide open borders with those of China or say the Soviet bloc back during the Cold War. I doubt that a thousand freedom fighters could do much in China, for example. China can afford to flood a region with troops in order to flush out special forces (who incidentally will have zero support on the ground).

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Borders are porous (none / 0) (#144)
by Anonymous Hiro on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 12:51:59 PM EST

There are many ways to get things and people through borders.

People were stealing luxury cars from Hong Kong and shipping them to China via powerboats. The cars sure got through.

Ever wondered what
else may have got through?

Stick a few guns in the luxury car. The official you bribed to get the car in doesn't have to know. If he finds out, hey you stole the car so how would you know that there was a secret compartment with sniper rifles in them.

Note: the car doesn't actually have to be stolen too. The cost of a full missile load of a fighter plane covers a fair number of cars sold at a loss.

One sidewinder USD80+K. One F22 = USD90million? Don't forget the cost of the crew and equipment to support all that too - maintenance, fuel, etc.

If you spend the same amount to identify, train, predeploy, support and equip a 1000-strong elite force, I'm sure you'd get a lot of bang for your buck.

There are human issues of course which may make this unfeasible (same sort of probs with maintaining sleeper units in other countries).


[ Parent ]

They have guns (none / 0) (#163)
by nh1 on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 07:59:51 AM EST

People were stealing luxury cars from Hong Kong and shipping them to China via powerboats... Stick a few guns in the luxury car.

China has a massive supply of guns. Actually, they smuggle them out to Hong Kong. You can buy an ex-PLA Kalashnikov or pistol in any big city in China.

[ Parent ]

Freedom fighters have no chance (none / 0) (#162)
by nh1 on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 07:55:52 AM EST

I was reading about the Special Forces in the Vietnam War. They sent hundreds of Vietnamese into the north to do do the "Freedom fighter" thing, sabotage and intelligence gathering. Almost all were rounded up within days and turned to send back false reports or just killed or put in prison. Many are still there.

The kind of contries that are real threats, totalitarian regimes, were called "denied areas" in the Cold War becasue it was basically impossible to get any human intelligence or put any agents in. Most of the intelligence coups of that era ascribed to spies were actually signals intelligence from intercepts, decoding and satellite surveillance.

[ Parent ]

I hope your 'Freedom Fighters' can (none / 0) (#135)
by zantispam on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 11:00:43 AM EST

swim.  Oz happens to be surrounded by a whole bunch of wet stuff.  Oz needs some way to get the folks elsewhere to Freedom Fight ™.  Once they're there, they might want some help say blowing up a mortar team on a hilltop that's got them pinned down thirty klicks away from the target.

This is what CV(A)Ns are for.


Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]

Doh. (none / 0) (#142)
by Anonymous Hiro on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 12:31:58 PM EST

If you've got the enemy shooting at their own civilians, then the battle is practically won.

Why'd the team have to be in Oz? Or hold/use an Oz passport? If they are elsewhere they can usually still communicate with each other over the internet or other means before they deploy.

And don't forget I said they are to be well equipped. I'm just saying you shouldn't need to spend the equivalent of a few super expensive US fighter planes for defense.

The idea is to "seep" into the target country from various other countries. You may have to have a multiracial, multilingual team depending on potential enemy nations for blending reasons.

[ Parent ]

I think we're talking past each other (none / 0) (#143)
by zantispam on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 12:51:46 PM EST

You're talking guerilla warfare.

I'm talking conventional warfare.

Yes?

Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]

Yes (none / 0) (#160)
by Anonymous Hiro on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 05:26:29 AM EST

And I was talking about guerilla warfare in the post you replied to. Maybe I wasn't clear enough in the first 3 paragraphs.

Or you were just trolling.


[ Parent ]

My bad (none / 0) (#172)
by zantispam on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 10:31:40 AM EST

I totally misunderstood you.

Or you were just trolling.

Naw, I leave that to the K5 ASCII Reenactment Borg.  And Jack Wagner.

Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]

MAD (none / 0) (#174)
by nh1 on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 10:41:18 AM EST

Imagine if you're Thailand and China attacks you. There's no way you can stop a few hundred thousand chinese soldiers from overrunning your country. So you might as well let them take over your country (with a bit of a fight), and then get a few hundred "special forces" to infiltrate China, wait for a while and then strike.

Then watch while the PLA executes 10 or 100 Thais for every Chinese killed. Or holds a gun at King Bhumipon's head on television.

Think of it as a poor man's "Mutually Assured Destruction" programme.

Indeed, it would be, but as Dr Strangelove said: "The whole point of the doomsday machine is lost if you keep it a secret! Why didn't you tell the world?" It's no deterrent if it's secret, and if the enemy knew such a force was in place they could find and eliminate it before invading.

[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 0) (#228)
by Anonymous Hiro on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 11:06:15 AM EST

"Then watch while the PLA executes 10 or 100 Thais for every Chinese killed. Or holds a gun at King Bhumipon's head on television."

If something "happens" to the Three Gorges Dam, there won't be enough Thai people in the entire world. It won't be easy. But I doubt it's impossible for at least 5 people out of 1000 sleeper special forces to successfully do it.

The US can't even find Osama (and he's like 6 foot plus with a chronic medical problem).


[ Parent ]

What real threats are there to Australia? (none / 1) (#97)
by nlscb on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 04:56:42 PM EST

Is Indonesia really a threat? I know that it is not the nicest country in the world to have as a neighbor, but would they really try to pull a stunt like invading Darwin? The consequences would be pretty dire for them.

As well, China's imperialist ambitions are way overblown. Basically, they want Taiwan back. They don't care very much about anything else, except to make sure Japan, the Koreas, Vietnam, and India don't try to mess with them.

Also, I suspect that Australia's armed forces have much more fundamental problems than lack of a fighter. It sounds like they need to invest more in the basics before they decide to spend billions on a new fighter.

So, why should Australia need to build a fighter? If technology is the concern, the money would be better spend on technical education and technical infrastructure. Building a commercial craft, even subsidized by the government, while not a great idea, would make more sense.

Small countries that try to make their own fighter aircraft tend to get burned. Just look at the Canadian Avrow Arrow or the Swedish Grippen. They look sexy, but they turn into budget sinkholes.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange

you guarantee that, right? (none / 1) (#106)
by khallow on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 09:10:03 PM EST

I'm tired of people who have no clue making blanket statements like this.

Is Indonesia really a threat? I know that it is not the nicest country in the world to have as a neighbor, but would they really try to pull a stunt like invading Darwin? The consequences would be pretty dire for them.

So if Indonesia does invade Australia despite your rosy predictions, you're willing to back up that statement with a significant contribution to help Australian refugees resettle elsewhere?

Indonesia isn't going to invade Australia today, but what about twenty years from now?

As well, China's imperialist ambitions are way overblown. Basically, they want Taiwan back. They don't care very much about anything else, except to make sure Japan, the Koreas, Vietnam, and India don't try to mess with them.

Why do you think that? Even a modest China might need to establish some sort of hegemony. And this China never owned Taiwan so there's nothing there they can have "back".

So, why should Australia need to build a fighter? If technology is the concern, the money would be better spend on technical education and technical infrastructure. Building a commercial craft, even subsidized by the government, while not a great idea, would make more sense.

Why should all these countries (not just Australia) be interested in such a fighter? Namely because they need it. I don't see how technical education and infrastructure will build that aircraft. It doesn't fill the military gap that these countries have.

Small countries that try to make their own fighter aircraft tend to get burned. Just look at the Canadian Avrow Arrow or the Swedish Grippen. They look sexy, but they turn into budget sinkholes.

Very good point. The countries involved in this project are pretty professional so I'd expect a good product, but multilateral cooperation is infamous for increasing the cost of a project.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

I'm didn't saying cow in (none / 1) (#109)
by nlscb on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 10:24:56 PM EST

Also, I suspect that Australia's armed forces have much more fundamental problems than lack of a fighter. It sounds like they need to invest more in the basics before they decide to spend billions on a new fighter.

I get the distinct impression Australia has seriously underfunded the basics of its military - like well equpied and trained infantry, artillery, armored cavalry, anti-aircraft, logistics, communications, command, and intelligence. If concerns about being attacked are really a problem, work on those first before you go after a new fighter. I don't know how much patriot systems, AEGIS cruisers, or their french equivalents cost, but I bet they are a lot less that $19 billion. Canada has a bunch of F-18s that they manage very well, but their once proud armed forces, who had earned a reputation for hitting above their weight, are sadly pathetic now.

Yeah, Indonesia won't invade now. Maybe it will in 20 yrs. And yes, Taiwan wasn't originally Chinese, but the Nationalists fled there and the Communists want revenge. In any event, it's going to be a long time before they can seriously threaten Australia. It would be better to make the argument that the most basic responsibility of any national government is national defense, and that it should always be well funded and under strict civilian command, especially if you want to get into the peacekeeping business - about which there is nothing peaceful. Say that bribing pentioners and welfare queen's for votes by cutting the defense budget is utterly irresponsible. If you use Javian and Mandarin boogeymans, and then propose fantastically expensive defense systems that look more like toys for overgrown boys, no one is going to take you seriosuly.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

In 20 years.... (none / 0) (#112)
by bjlhct on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 01:01:26 AM EST

This fighter will be entirely obsolete.

*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
In 20 years (none / 1) (#200)
by tjb on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 10:47:00 PM EST

If recent history is any indication, this hypothetical fighter will still be front-line in 20 years.

The US airforce is built around planes that, in most cases, are older than their pilots.  The F-14 and F-15 are 30 years old, the F-16 is 20, the F-18 is 15.  Virtually all the transport aircraft were designed in the 60's.  And the big-daddy of bomber aircraft, the B-52, is older than my parents!

Admittedly, these have been upgraded significantly since the original production run, but the airframes are still roughly the same.  The engines have probably been upgraded 2-3 times and the computer and weapons systems countless times, but its still the same 30 year old plane that's been tricked out.

Tim

[ Parent ]

so much ignorance (none / 0) (#110)
by wilful on Mon Aug 09, 2004 at 11:23:03 PM EST

Man there is some mouthy ignorance being shown in this thread. Oh well, can't be avoided I guess. To come back to the original proposition, I would be against an Austral-Asian strike fighter. The Defence Department are hopeless utter bunglers and I wouldn't trust them with anything near this magnitude. I do believe that a joint venture could be done cost effectively if well managed, but I don't think this could happen. Large groaning barrels of pork and incompetence. It would be far more cost effective and practical to buy the aforementioned Su-34 and upgrade it for re-export. Of course, this would piss off the US and we can't have that. The JSF is quite inappropriate, we'll never need it, but these alliances seem to be expensive things, not that little Johnny would ever care to do the accounting. I would prefer to see Australia spend less on defence procurement and ineroperability and more on regional stabilisation and aid. I think there are several ways to buy your security, and one of them is more positive for the human race.

WTF? (none / 0) (#118)
by tonyenkiducx on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 04:28:17 AM EST

They came up with a great idea about 90 years ago to solve just this problem.  Its a kind of mobile landing strip that can float!  I believe it is called an "aircraft carrier" and allthough expensive they can shift fairly large amounts of aircraft into whatever theatre is required.  And best of all, they can re-fuel aircraft too.

Or if that is to expensive, you could buy a load of gliders and some skuba gear.

Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called

Air craft carriers are outdated (none / 1) (#127)
by chillilizard on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 09:57:53 AM EST

Why put all your eggs in one basket? In a conflict situation, I imagine you would want to have redundant methods of supply. Tying yourself into certain defense contractors, especially foreign ones, and basing your supply infrastructure in single vessels, doesn't seem like a good idea to me. Also, and this is off topic, these days modern technology is favouring strike capability. Just look at tomahawk missiles and smart mines. I imagine that air craft carriers are getting a little harder to defend.

[ Parent ]
Hrmmm (3.00 / 2) (#132)
by zantispam on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 10:46:09 AM EST

basing your supply infrastructure in single vessels

You do realize that for each carrier there's ten to fifteen other support ships around, right?

Cruise missles can't do close support.  Tomahawks don't target naval vessels.  Harpoons and Exocets need targeting information which is yours, as the commander of a CBG, to deny the enemy.

Smart mines require delivery platforms.  Like subs.

Smart mines can't hurt F-18s.

I imagine that air craft carriers are getting a little harder to defend.

No harder than they've ever been.


Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]

Baskets dont have 500 tons of defense ordinance (none / 0) (#159)
by tonyenkiducx on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 05:16:36 AM EST

Aircraft carriers are fairly easy to defend because they dont need to be near the actual theatre of operations. Your shorter range attack ships, such as battleships and cruisers, take the front line fight, and the aircraft carriers sit at the back and send in waves of fighters or missiles.

Having those very long range fighters might be helpfull, but you cant base your entire defense budget around them. And lets not forget that aircraft carriers are hardly planes, they require a lot of time and money to build, but once built they are pretty much self-sufficent as far as repairs go. I'd imagine they hardly ever need sending back to the shop.

Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called
[ Parent ]
Good expansion on your earlier writing (3.00 / 3) (#130)
by Jacques Chester on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 10:20:17 AM EST

And my comments from then:

I have two main things to say, so I will divide them up.

On replacing the F-111

I agree that ditching the F-111 for the JSF leaves us bereft of strategic reach. Aside from your proposal for what one might call a Pacific Joint Strategic Bomber (JSB), there are three other replacement options:

  1. Buy or build the B1B
  2. Buy or build UAVs or cruise missiles
  3. Buy or build strategic rockets and arm them with nuclear warheads

Let me deal with these in order.

1: The B1B Lancer

The F-111 was of course designed as a strategic bomber, which was cold-war-speak for "nukes". It had fantastic range and great speed. The B1B is the logical successor in terms of requirements: range, speed and immunity from harm.

Actually it is probably overqualified for our needs. The lancer is a heavy bomber, carrying the same payload as a B52. It has a range of 6,500 miles or 10,400km. It has a sea-level top speed of Mach 1.2 and was specifically designed for penetration bombing - flying into heavily defended rough terrain at high speed. One hell of a plane.

Not a cheap option though. The USA keeps around 90 lancers in their fleet, and each of them cost US $200 million a pop. There's a question of whether they would sell them to us second hand, or whether we'd need to buy them new. It'd definitely require extensive infrastructure changes across our air bases, especially in Tindal where the F-111 force is headquartered.

Another option might be to investigate using the B1B design as the basis for your Pacific JSB idea. It might be feasible if you brought Japan, South Korea and Taiwan on board. I expect that their heavy industries would be well-suited to being tooled for this kind of building; Australian engineers would be useful in bringing their F111 experience to the table for design updates.

2: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Cruise Missiles

I agree with you that UAVs are a good place for Australian defence designers to get into the forefront of the defence market. They will almost certainly grow in sophistication over the years; however their development will be I think be hampered by the policy tension between the need to keep a human in the loop (where it's pilot versus latency & jamming issues) and the need to reduce own casualties.

Cruise missile technology is now fairly settled, it's just hellaciously expensive. UAVs will quite possibly change the economics of cruise missiles, since the expensive "smart parts" will be reusable on a return-to-base strategic UAV. I think that in any case it would be worth pursuing as a good long-term option.

3: Rockets & Nukes

This is by far the least desirable option, for very obvious reasons. If nothing else it would make it impossible to bring North Korea to the non-proliferation table. We have maintained the "Nuke Lite" policy of F-111s and ANSTO since Menzies, and I think we should keep things that way in the interests of regional stability. The JSF in Australian Defence Doctrine

I think that the JSF has great potential to make our airforce more, and not less, flexible. The interesting feature of the JSF is that it can be manufactured as a shorter-ranged VTOL/STOVL variant.

Australian defence planners should seriously investigate the possibility of developing a "guerilla airforce", able to integrate with Army and Navy logistics units anywhere in the country. The same planes should be able to launch from SeaCat light aircraft carriers and from good cattle station runways.

This approach invigorates the gap-theory, dibb review, retreat-and-harrass, unacceptable attrition approach to our defence. In particular the weakness in our defence doctrine has always been that whereas the Army can make a fighting retreat, airforce bases form strategic assets of a quite binary nature. You have them or you don't. This means that we need to build two of them on each northern approach: a forward base for early response, and a second base further back to cover the first stages of retreat. Meanwhile as we retreat to stretch enemy supply lines, we give them useful infrastructure. Hardly an ideal outcome.

With correctly-optimised JSFs, we could break the force profiles into individual flights with matching Army logistics integration. Flights could be attached to Army regiments and move with them as they made their fighting retreat, providing both forward response and excellent aerial coverage.

The JSF offers some great opportunity for planners willing to look outside of the Airforce/Army/Navy box.



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Pardon my ignorance (none / 0) (#133)
by jolly st nick on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 10:59:41 AM EST

But I don't understand how being able to launch from cattle fields gets you towards a "guerilla airforce". Don't you still need to stockpile fuel and weaponry? Once you've done that, haven't you just recreated an air base?

[ Parent ]
Never said it was perfect. (none / 1) (#156)
by Jacques Chester on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 11:48:12 PM EST

Read the comment again. The idea is to attach the planes to other units, and then integrate with their logistics. Tanker and ammo trucks follow Army units around as a matter of course already. Where they stop, it's camp so-and-so.

Unlike the airforce, however, the army can strike camp and move. It can also dig in establish Fort so-and-so. Currently the airforce lacks this ability.

As I said, the flaw in the classic Defence-of-Australia plan is that one needs air cover, and that with airfields you have 'em or you don't. Even if only a percentage of air coverage could be detached from the airbases, you'd improve your ability to retreat-and-harass.



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[ Parent ]
Thanks (none / 0) (#199)
by jolly st nick on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 10:23:30 PM EST

That clarifies your point very well.

[ Parent ]
Some comments (none / 1) (#211)
by DDS3 on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 12:43:34 AM EST

I agree that ditching the F-111 for the JSF leaves us bereft of strategic reach.

Stick with me...  Sure, some strategic value might be lost, but not much.  Keep in mind that the F111 was designed for a US-Russian war in Europe.  The whole point of the design is to deliver a fairly large payload, quickly, while safely following the napp of the earth.  In other words, F111 stays alive and hidden by flying between mountains, through vallies, near hills, and other rough terrain.  Flying an F111 over an ocean is a HUGE tactical and strategic loss.

Time and time again, I see people take their position with what appears to be the assumption that the F111 is better in every way to a JSF.  That's simply not true.

Here's the reality of the sitation.  If a F111 has to fly across the ocean to make a strike, it will never be a surprise.  And, the F111 is not "dog-fight" worthy.  It's a large radar and heat target.  If they face any modern military, in a situation where they have to fly across an ocean, chances are they will never return home.  This is EXACTLY why the JSF makes sense.  The JSF provies a fair amount of stealth, which the F111 does not have when it has to cross an ocean.  The JSF is better at defense AND is worth something in air-to-air engagements, which seems to make sense for a country like Australia.

Basically, they are trading a fleet of dead horses for something that can actually defend, strike, and project on a modern battlefield.  The only thing, IMO, that they have lost is range.  But in exchange for that range, they gain so much more.

I'm not seeing a downside here.


[ Parent ]

We seem to be addressing different needs. (none / 1) (#215)
by Jacques Chester on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 03:32:12 AM EST

I'm trying to look at maintaining a strategic attack capability. F111s were certainly designed for superpower warfare, and the B1B is an even more capable successor (fully automatic terrain hugging flight mode, for instance: on the deck, flatstrap, through valleys).

Surprise is one element of warfare, which stealth can provide. However speed and concentrated force are other aspects. It's no good sending itsy bitsy F35 payloads to do the job of a strategic bomber. Again, the F111 and B1B are well-suited to fast intermediate and heavy bombing roles. The F35's problem is not in arriving undetected; it's in arriving without refueling and with a seriously hurtful payload.

What seems to suit your preferred profile for ground attack is a B2. These are entirely out of Australia's (and now even the USA's) league.

Incidentally the B1B was the first bomber to take serious account of stealth issues. A B2 or F35 it isn't, but it's surprisingly stealthy for a plane able to carry the payload of a B52.

Finally, one could certainly include a stealth objective for a pacific rim strategic bomber project. Stealth is now fairly well understood, whereas previously it was a black art. One can have "for free", as a design constraint. Of course strategic rockets can be stealthier and faster even than bombers, and cruise missiles can be very stealthy indeed. Australia should explore its options thoroughly.



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[ Parent ]
Precision weapons (3.00 / 2) (#220)
by joib on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 05:47:40 AM EST

Keep in mind that modern guided bombs generally hit where they are supposed to. Thus it's no longer necessary to carpet bomb a point target, hoping that even a single bomb would actually hit. Payload capacity matters less today than 30 years ago.

[ Parent ]
Exactly right... (3.00 / 2) (#230)
by DDS3 on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 11:45:14 AM EST

The F111 was built on the primise that some "smart" weapons would be used and that they would be more accurate then dumb ones, but nearly not as effective as they are today.  And, the use of F111's assume that it will have lots of terrain to hide behind.  All this breaks down with modern bombs and the fact that they have to cross ocean to "project power".  My point being, these days, aside from the range issues, the JSF is actually a better, stronger replacement for the F111.  It can actually dogfight, bomb, and intercept, all while being fairly stealthy.  I'm not saying that it's the absolute ideal solution, but, save only for it's range (which is worthess for the F111 anyways), it's clearly a step forward for them.

Let's face it, they currently do not have any real ability to "project" power with their F111 fleet.  At least not against a modern military target.  With the F111's that they have, they have the ability to project easy targets.  That's it.  With a fleet of JSFs, they will actually have the abililty to project power, albeit, to obtain added range, additional logistical requirements come into play.

Basically, we have a country that can not seriously project any power, at least not by means of F111's, which may soon be able to actually project power.  Again, there isn't a down side.  This is nothing but up from their current situation.  It seems that most people don't realize the REAL situation, as it pertains to their current F111 fleet.  

Seriously, if they expect any of their planes to reach a target against a modern military, they are going to have to have escort anyways.  Which is not something they current have.  Bluntly, for their position and current F111 fleet, they have no ability to project power.  At least not against any modern militarized country.


[ Parent ]

Flexibility (none / 0) (#235)
by Jacques Chester on Sat Aug 14, 2004 at 02:27:14 AM EST

I grant you this, and for a lot of targets precision is desirable. But sometimes you just need to blow up a whole bunch of junk at once (a whole airfield say, or a factory, or a shipyard, or a refinery, or a port).

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[ Parent ]
Questions (none / 0) (#212)
by pde on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 02:49:34 AM EST

Well, aside from the fact that I'm not convinced we need a defence force designed for anything other than peacekeeping, I do have a couple of questions:

Cruise missile technology is now fairly settled, it's just hellaciously expensive. UAVs will quite possibly change the economics of cruise missiles, since the expensive "smart parts" will be reusable on a return-to-base strategic UAV.

Aside from the gravy train that is the military-industrial complex, I must say that I just don't understand this. How can "smart parts" possibly have a high marginal cost? Surely they can be made from off-the-shelf ICs and control gadgetry, with all of the expense in the software — which doesn't get any cheaper if you fly it home.

In the vastly improbable case that somebody did threaten to invade Australia itself, surely those things could be mass produced in huge numbers, with cost determined almost exclusively by the propulsion system?

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[ Parent ]

Data, software, secrecy (none / 1) (#214)
by Jacques Chester on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 03:23:31 AM EST

There are a number of items which make the clever bits more expensive than another system of equivalent complexity.

The first is data. Your tomahawk cruise missile calls on extremely sophisticated and precise maps to fly its course; of the variety typically unavailable to civilians. The USA have just such maps, developed by the National Reconnaisance Office (their satellite shop) amongst others.

The second is software. Recognising landmarks, in a variety of weather & lighting conditions, from different angles, in a very short period of time, is simply a difficult problem. The Tomahawk uses landmark and terrain navigation as one of three modes (the others being GPS and inertial). Of the three modes it is the most difficult to develop, but it is quite robust.

Reliance on any one method of navigation is severely problematic - GPS may be jammed or spoofed, or a superpower enemy could shoot down GPS satellites; inertial guidance may simply be wrong if improperly calibrated or if the missile is tagged slightly in flight; and of course terrain recognition can be challenged by changing the shape of landmarks, throwing a towel over the Eiffel Tower, so to speak.

Finally, secrecy. This naturally raises the cost of any exercise in development.

High explosives, on the other hand, are cheap and easy for any industrialised nation to manufacture en masse. Hence the high relative cost of "the smarts".



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[ Parent ]
Peacekeeping (none / 1) (#216)
by Jacques Chester on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 03:34:09 AM EST

Additionally, I don't think we should tool for peace keeping, or expeditions with US buddies, or anything of that nature. I feel we should focus on defensive strategy ("unacceptable attrition") with a strategic deterrent twist.

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[ Parent ]
Uhhh, just one question...? (none / 0) (#151)
by jd on Tue Aug 10, 2004 at 03:53:57 PM EST

Why would anyone want to invade Australia? (Or New Zealand, for that matter.) Australia is mostly inhabited by sheep and XXXX breweries. There is some spectacular marine life up by the coral reefs, but usually invasions involve something with a bit more monetary value.

If Australia isn't expecting to be attacked in the near future (or any other future) then it would seem much easier just to build a fleet of aircraft carriers. The Southern Ocean has no significant land-masses other than Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica. It would be much easier to travel by water, and fly as necessary, rather than the other way round.

Uhhh, answers (2.50 / 2) (#161)
by nh1 on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 07:43:58 AM EST

but usually invasions involve something with a bit more monetary value.

There's oil in Australia's territorial waters between it and Indonesia. And fish.

Indonesia has always been the bogeyman. Too disorganised to make an immediate threat militarily, but with a stronger economy and an aggressive government it could be one in the near future. They grabbed East Timor in 1975 and Irian Jaya in the 60s, made attempts to take on Malaysia (the Konfrontasi in 1962-6). If Australia appeared a soft target it could be at risk.

[ Parent ]

Indonesia? (none / 0) (#182)
by strictfoo on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 12:39:47 PM EST

In case you haven't noticed this: the UK and US are allies of Australia and would quickly obliterate any such attack. Unless you are thinking of some armegeddon situation in the future when the US and UK have been destroyed. If that's the case, I think Indonesia would be the least of Australia's worries (more like the massive amounts of nuclear fallout it would be receiving).

[ Parent ]
Kissinger and East Timor (none / 0) (#183)
by cam on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 12:50:40 PM EST

In case you haven't noticed this: the UK and US are allies of Australia and would quickly obliterate any such attack.

You are living in fantasy land. Ford and Kissinger gave Suharto permission to invade East Timor.

When Australia led the force into East Timor in 1999, the US didnt want to get involved as they didnt want to put American investments, business etc at risk by participating in a UN expedition against Indonesia. The US ended up contributing to logistics, but was not a part of the original INTERFET.

America follows American interests, only a naive fool would put Australia in a position where it was subject to American benevolence for its security.

cam

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Timor =! Australia (none / 0) (#189)
by strictfoo on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 01:29:44 PM EST

Timor and Australia are different countries. I said that the US and UK would come to the aid of Australia. I didn't say the US gave a rats ass about Timor.

[ Parent ]
Re: Kissinger and East Timor (none / 1) (#238)
by Incabulos on Sun Aug 15, 2004 at 08:18:58 AM EST

Sadly, Australia has such a naive fool as Prime Minister at the moment.

- Gutting our IT industry and exposing our own economy to the predatory, extortion-like tactics of the ( predominately US-based ) IP cartel via the absurdly-named Free Trade Agreement

- Insulting and alienating our neighbours via threatening pre-emptive stikes against Indonesia, via blatant sabre rattling in the style of military intervention in the Solomans and elsewhere, and the bullying of the East Timorese government for access to their oil reserves, so much for mateship.

- Mimicing whetever the trendy political meme is in Washington at any given moment. Right now John Howard is trying to ban gay mariages, just like his good pal Dubya. You know that really pathetic loser in school who gets encouraged to do stupid things by the in-crowd, but ends up becoming the butt of their jokes? Yep, thats little Johnny.

Thankfully the wretched little twerp is on the fast train out of office. Maybe he can emigrate to the US for his retirement, good riddance to bad rubbish. Though I wouldnt wish him on you nice folks in the States either, what a dilemma.

[ Parent ]
retirement (none / 0) (#262)
by cetaceous on Sat Aug 21, 2004 at 04:18:10 AM EST

so i wonder why he's trying to do all these deals with american arms suppliers just before the next election ? he's going to have a very nice retirement provided by the australian public and heavily supplemented by certain large US defence (or offence i guess would be the better term these days) companies... just so long as he keeps licking ass ;)

[ Parent ]
What if.. (none / 0) (#190)
by zantispam on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 01:35:22 PM EST

the UK and US are allies of Australia and would quickly obliterate any such attack.

Considering how overextended we in USistan are at the moment, I don't think 'quick' is the adjective I'd choose.

Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]

Aircraft carriers = US only (none / 0) (#179)
by strictfoo on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 12:35:32 PM EST

Aircraft carriers aren't some simple, cheap, easy to maintain item. Currently two countries have functioning carriers: The US (with ~12) and Russia (with 1 deteriorating carrier). This basically puts the US as the only country with functioning active carriers.

They are the most important item in the US military, allowing the US to quickly station military fire power and troops anywhere in the world in a matter of days.

China and the UK will most likely join the US within the next 5-10 years. As you can see form that list, the last time most countries had carriers was around WWII.


[ Parent ]

Did you read the list? (none / 0) (#204)
by tonyenkiducx on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 07:42:38 AM EST

Brazil
France
India
Italy(2)
Russia
Spain
Thailand
UK(3)

All have active aircraft carriers.

Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called
[ Parent ]

Not fully operating attack carriers (none / 0) (#206)
by nlscb on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 10:52:49 AM EST

They usually can only carry harriers, which are great aircraft, but have limited offensive payloads. One of the French ones was supposed to be a carrier that could launch non VTOL craft - I'm pretty sure it was the DeGaul - but I heard they screwed it up somehow.

If you want to bring the pain with air superiority fighters and fully loaded attack bombers, you are still basically stuck with US carriers.

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[ Parent ]

STOVL JSF (none / 1) (#219)
by joib on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 05:23:24 AM EST

If there is one single area where the JSF will be a huge improvement over what is currently availabla, then it's the STOVL variant which is going to replace the Harrier.

Of course, a small carrier loaded with JSF:s isn't up to snuff compared to an American supercarrier, but that wasn't the point either.

[ Parent ]

It won't happen (none / 1) (#171)
by Hoo00 on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 09:56:44 AM EST

Japan is well protected by the americans. The publics there are generally unsupportive of aggressive weapons and like to keep their self defence force small. South Korea is so close to North Korea that they don't need long range fighters. If Taiwan built strike fighters, China will be over their heads. Australians are better off expanding their economy to compete with these countries.

Re: It won't happen (none / 0) (#176)
by useful on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 10:53:03 AM EST

Totaly agree. I bet they just make a modified version for their type of combat role.

[ Parent ]
Economy and Population (none / 0) (#180)
by cam on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 12:37:34 PM EST

Japan is well protected by the americans. The publics there are generally unsupportive of aggressive weapons and like to keep their self defence force small.

Japan could look after itself if it wanted to. It also pays a stipend to the US for protection.

South Korea is so close to North Korea that they don't need long range fighters.

Across the Yellow Sea is China who has a large land mass.

If Taiwan built strike fighters, China will be over their heads.

They have been sabre rattling for a long time. In truth the Chinese do no have the projection power to maintain a beachhead on Taiwan if Taiwan is defending itself alone. If the US gets involved it is a pointless task.

Australians are better off expanding their economy to compete with these countries.

Western economies tend to max out per person. If Australia had a larger population its economy would be considerably larger;

GDP (USD)

  • $6.449 Trillion
  • $3.5 Trillion
  • $855 Billion : South Korea
  • $758 Billion : Indonesia
  • $570 Billion : Australia
  • $528 Billion : Taiwan
  • $475 Billion : Thailand

Purchasing Power Parity (USD)

  • $28,900 : Australia
  • $28,000 : Japan
  • $23,400 : Taiwan
  • $17,700 : South Korea
  • $7,400 : Thailand
  • $5,000 : China
  • $3,200 : Indonesia

Population

  • 1,298 Million : China
  • 238 Million : Indonesia
  • 127 Million : Japan
  • 65 Million : Thailand
  • 49 Million : South Korea
  • 23 Million : Taiwan
  • 20 Million : Australia

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Ugh (none / 0) (#181)
by cam on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 12:38:48 PM EST

GDP

# $6.449 Trillion : China
# $3.5 Trillion : Japan
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

I don't think you're getting what he's talking (3.00 / 2) (#185)
by dj28 on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 01:14:42 PM EST

about. He's mentioning the political realities of the situation and you're talking about what *could* happen *if* they *wanted* to. You're not on the same page.

Here's the political realities that will prevent South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan participating together to build a long range fighter-bomber.

South Korea: They have no need for one. None. All targets in North Korea are within range of the fighter aircraft they have now and the new JSF. In fact, that's exactly what they need. Most of the devastation will be caused by artillery within close range of their capital, which requires nimble and fast aircraft to take out. South Korea needs short/mid-range air superiority, not long-range projection. If China were to ever get involved, then South Korea would not have to worry about bombing Beijing, since it would be a smoldering piece a glass, being the victim of an American ICBM.

Japan: They would be the most likely to participate, but very unlikely. Their population would never accept an offensive projection platform. It's just not going to happen. Japan had a hard enough time sending noncombatant forces to Iraq. And you really think they will help build projection platforms in the near future? And even if they did need one, they could easily design, test, and manufacture them without Australia's help at all. Quite easily, in fact. Australia would merely become a purchaser just like they are now. Besides all that, they have American b52s located on soil and in Guam, which brings up Taiwan.

Taiwan: Not only is it out of the question for them, but China has said plainly that they will invade if Taiwan gets too aggressive. First of all, if Taiwan would help build one, and if they procured such projection platforms, there is no way that Taiwan would be able to afford enough of them to do any real damage. China has so many short and mid-range fighters that they could literally saturate the sky with them. Second, Taiwan depends heavily on the US in the China situation. If China protests the US sending more long-range bombers to Guam, do you really think they would accept Taiwan actually owning a long-range projection platform? Taiwan's main concern is about preserving their independence, not upsetting China to the point of war, which is exactly what would happen.

I agree with you that Australia needs to think about its own national interests. It's just that the combination of countries chosen to demonstrate regional cooperation is politically impossible right now and for the near future. Perhaps are more likely country would be Canada, since it also has vast amounts of territories and seas to project to. It's just that Canada cooperates heavily with the US to produce their weapons. And that's the problem; all the countries right now are either building their own platforms or purchasing them from the US, EU, or Russia. Australia can't afford to do the former.

You can dance around the realities all you want and instead look at the theoretical. That's fine, but you can't ignore the realities of why this is extremely unlikely.


[ Parent ]

but what about... (none / 0) (#202)
by wilful on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 12:34:46 AM EST

Thailand and Singapore? Two countries we have a decent rapport with that may require something along the lines of what we are looking for. Actually India could be a candidate too, if they cared to think big enough. There's more to India's defence than massed air versus the Pakis. It's all a big waste of money though. Like the two massive support ships we're about to get, just so we can give logistic support to the US. Hopefully big kim can put a stop to this though.

[ Parent ]
More please (none / 0) (#210)
by DDS3 on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 12:28:38 AM EST

Like the two massive support ships we're about to get, just so we can give logistic support to the US.

In the article, it doesn't really support why he things those two ships are soley to be use to support the US.  Have any insight on the ship details?  Why he said this?  What the nature of the "support" would be?

That statement didn't seem to make much sense to me.


[ Parent ]

Heavy lift ships (3.00 / 2) (#213)
by wilful on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 02:50:59 AM EST

From my (admittedly limited) understanding, we can buy those two ships or a larger number of smaller ones. Those two would be useful in some heavy lifting capacity but would not be at all flexible. Australia needs ships that can get around small pacific islands and pick people up after hurricanes, and unload a few bushmasters. What we're apparently getting is something that is best at moving tanks around. just what we don't need, but typical.

[ Parent ]
Army and Navy begging for LHD's (none / 0) (#222)
by cam on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 08:29:09 AM EST

Since the Australian government keeps sending the ADF on expeditions like Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor and the Solomons; the army and navy got together and decided they needed assault ships (LHDs). They are 27,000 tonne flat-tops that open up at the back and let vehicles and men flow. The ADF budget was for Australia to buy two of about 12,000 tonnes to replace the two rust buckets that were bought off the USN second hand a while ago.

Hugh White of the ASPI has an article on why it is a bad idea, Big ships: too costly, too cumbersome. Australian tanks and APC's arent going to be deployed to the middle east so Australia doesnt need that blue water lifting power. They may be deployed regionally like East Timor and Solomons, but big ships like that arent needed for that kind of operation.

Incat in Australia makes the littoral catamarans, like the Jervis Bay which did sterling service in East Timor. So much so that Incat is now developing littoral ships for the USN/USMC. The catamaran is fine for running around the Timor and Tasman sea at high speed, due to its draight, it is not good for going across the Atlantic though. Interestingly, Incat has also designed a catamaran aircraft carrier as well. Designed for the VSTOL JSF.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Silly thought (none / 0) (#226)
by zantispam on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 09:58:20 AM EST

Weld those two LHDs together.

Buy the naval variant of the JSF.

Instant blue-water projection carrier.

:p

Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]

weld hulls together (none / 0) (#227)
by cam on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 10:23:17 AM EST

Incat (Tasmanian company) has beat you to it.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Needs an (none / 1) (#229)
by zantispam on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 11:32:35 AM EST

angled deck.  Weld one LHD to the front and one to the side at an angle - that's a winner!

Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]
Cheaper (2.00 / 3) (#192)
by drquick on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 01:50:40 PM EST

Wouldn't it be cheaper to buy some air tankers instead of starting a new development project. You are buying the JSF anyhow, not? Tankers are cheaper than a fully new airplane with the range on F-111.

What does Australia need such a defence for anyhow? Mark my words. The JSF is intended only to be an Australian arm in remote wars like Afghanistan or Iraq. The intent is not to defend Australia itself at all! You are just henchmen to the Americans.

Force Multipliers Require Escorts Too (none / 1) (#201)
by cam on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 11:27:20 PM EST

Wouldn't it be cheaper to buy some air tankers instead of starting a new development project. You are buying the JSF anyhow, not? Tankers are cheaper than a fully new airplane with the range on F-111.

Australian tankers are 707's. Tankers also require JSF's to defend them which defrays the strike ability of the 100 JSF's Australia intends to buy. The F111 is an autonomous weapon. Australia doesnt invest in force multipliers, it lacks political will in defence. This is really the main issue :(

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

stuff (none / 1) (#208)
by xmnemonic on Thu Aug 12, 2004 at 02:07:01 PM EST

To cam: I assume that I'm talking to a relatively informed enthusiast, so for the sake of brevity I have omitted large portions of examples and evidence that would support my statements.  So for example, when I say "beleagured Ching Kuo," I assume that you're familiar with its development troubles (money, weight, politics) which contributed to the decision to buy F-16's from the US instead of completing the production of the rest of 100 or so Ching Kuos.

Throughout your essay you only make a cheeky notice of Asian nation participation, and how great it'd be.  You never mention how these nations would be made to cooperate though.  All three (Japan, South Korea and Taiwan) have extremely strong ties to the U.S., politically and economically, especially regarding military aircraft (contracts for F-15's and F-16's of various variants).  It's one thing to push for a change in one nation, it's another to push for a change in three others, and get them all to play nice.

Who would design this fighter, and would it actually be better for Australia and the asian countries than the JSF?  Let's see, the military aerospace industry in Australia is almost non-existant, so I don't see how Australia could go from zero to hero by starting out on a fighter aircraft, a scale of project most nations dream to accomplish.  Japan's most appropriate contender would be Mitsubishi, but their only work has been on the Lockheed codeveloped F-2, which isn't all that impressive.  Taiwan's AIDC made the beleagured Ching Kuo (derived from the F-16, like the F-2), but again, this was a rather minor effort with disappointingly paltry results.  South Korea has the (F-16 derived, yet again) T-50 Golden Eagle from Korean Aerospace, codeveloped with Lockheed like the other two aircraft mentiond above, but a small LIFT isn't quite the same as a strike fighter.  None of the nations you mention, including Australia, have the necessary experience nor infrastructure (supersonic wind tunnels, carbon fibre metal laminate production facilities etc) to develop something like a strike fighter that would be superior to the F-35.

Maybe that's why they never have tried to create something like a modern fighter aircraft?  They are all aware of their skills and those of others, and so have chosen to either codevelop smaller projects or just purchase the aircraft they want from other nations.

Your four nations might be able to cobble together a fighter, maybe even one with the combat range you desire.  But there it is unlikely they could create components competitive with those of Lockheed, Raytheon, Northrop and BAE, the superstars of military aerospace (with the track records to prove it).  From where would the mass quantities of experienced engineers come?  Would all those freshly-minted grads in aerospace engineering, who have migrated to the U.S. for work suddenly return?

Hell look at India and its massive economic resources and intelligent workforce; they wanted their own fighter and the best they've been able to come up with is the LCA.

Overall I think your desire for an Austral-Asian strike fighter has a sound basis, but is a bit too pie-in-the-sky.  No, the F-35 is not perfect for everybody, every time; but it is far better than the practical alternatives (relying on obsolete fighters, or no fighters at all).  Your alternative is not even practical though; it's yet another contrived, "wouldn't it be cool?" proposal for an aircraft requirement already adequately (but not perfectly) fulfilled.

(i know this post is pretty rough, i'm a bit pressed for time though)

A bit tangential. (none / 1) (#218)
by Jacques Chester on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 03:55:17 AM EST

cam isn't agitating for a new fighter. The F35 is the obvious contender to replace our F-18s. He's agitating for a bomber to replace our FB111s. Australia is thousands of kilometres from anywhere, by simple geography any bomber useful to us will be strategic in nature.

--
Well now. We seem to be temporarily out of sigs here at the sig factory. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
[ Parent ]
Ramping up and other issues (none / 0) (#221)
by cam on Fri Aug 13, 2004 at 08:12:19 AM EST

You never mention how these nations would be made to cooperate though. All three (Japan, South Korea and Taiwan) have extremely strong ties to the U.S., politically and economically, especially regarding military aircraft (contracts for F-15's and F-16's of various variants). It's one thing to push for a change in one nation, it's another to push for a change in three others, and get them all to play nice.

This article is intended as a challenge to Australians to think differently about defence, ot get away from the "All the way with the USA" (rebuttal) doctrine of thinking at government levels. As to getting other nations to join in, that is a diplomat's job, and the current bilateral pursuit of American attention by the Howard government is making that more difficult.

Did you read that Japan is looking to drop its defence export ban so it can join in international defence projects, like the JSF and Missile Shield. There is an oppurtunity there for an Australian government to increase defence ties there without using the US as its vehicle to achieve that.

None of the nations you mention, including Australia, have the necessary experience nor infrastructure (supersonic wind tunnels, carbon fibre metal laminate production facilities etc) to develop something like a strike fighter that would be superior to the F-35.

As Jacques pointed out, what I am advocating is a replacement to the F111, not really a replacement to the JSF. I appropriated a sexy-in-the-news name.

As to experience and infrastructure, I dont see that as insurmountable as long as the Australian government maintains the political will to not only fund a first generation platform, but to fund ongoing generations, rather than give up after the first few.

The American and French aerospace industries have benefitted from continued and ongoing investment from government since the end of World War II. Australia abruptly stopped its aircraft development after World War II and then only produced trainers and low capacity STOL airlift capacity. The rest of Australian aerospace was degraded to manufacture and maintenance.

The other reason I dont have an issue with it is that if funded correctly ( and with the political to back it ), private investment, companies, skills and capability will flow to fill that gap (or that revenue being offered). Australia produces aerospace engineers, materials engineers, applied scientists etc. There will be a lot of existing interested technologists jumping to the new roles in aerospace being offered.

The Australian air force is facing block obsolescence from government lack of interest in capability. There is plenty of unsexy aerospace equipment that could be used as initial development for Australian aerospace. The Caribou's need to be replaced and East Timor showed up the limits in Australian airlift capacity. These are unsexy projects that arent threatening to the US, that could be used to kick off projects with South Korea, Japan etc and serve as a leg in to greater aeerospace involvement and development.

No, the F-35 is not perfect for everybody, every time; but it is far better than the practical alternatives

The bigger issue here is, US strategic needs have completely diverged from Australian strategic needs. The US is projecting globally and is ensuring it has the back end infrastructure to support that global projection. Australia only needs regional projection.

Since the US is Australia's traditional defence supplier, it is basically not making equipment for Australian needs any longer. Australia has two choice, let capability and consequently security and defence erode, or do something about it and come up with a new way of dealing with defence development and procurement.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

CCK Fighter etc (none / 0) (#263)
by edg176 on Sun Aug 22, 2004 at 03:16:51 PM EST

AFAIK, the CCK was derived from the F20 wasn't it?

RE Japan, notice that Honda has decided to build jet engines?  They're flying prototypes now.  This is huge, because both India and Taiwan attempted jet engine devo and failed in the 90s.  India's kept blowing up on the test stand, so they bought (I think) Rolls Royce engines for the light fighter.  

Other posters have discussed the long lead times/high devo costs for high performance jet aircraft.  Considering how grossly corrupt and inefficient the defense contractor establishment is, it's no surprise.  On the other hand, say if you hired Burt Rutan to design the thing and Honda or Toyota to build it, I'd wager a different outcome.  Cheap, mass produced, reliable aircraft.  

[ Parent ]

Article or defense industry wet dream? (none / 1) (#248)
by bashibazouk on Tue Aug 17, 2004 at 06:17:11 PM EST

Me thinks the author should put down his most recent issue Janes Defense Weekly and learn to write like the rest of us.

force multipliers

I mean come on what is a force multiplier and why has it any meaning in the defense of Australia? Take a good hard look at D-Day some time. Add real time satellite photos of every square inch of any country that would have even the faintest dream of invasion and I think your ideas are pretty far fetched. Do you really think the UK, who sent a task force to recover some tiny, cold rocks inhabited mostly by sheep in the South Atlantic would hesitate a second to help Australia? Would any country with the resources to conduct an invasion over water risk the wrath of an US economic boycott? Or worse military retaliation?

Australia very well may be invaded from it's northern borders but it will most likely happen the time proven old fashion way: Immigration. No amount of Development Cost Sharing or Disruptive Technologies that can cross air-sea gaps are going to help you there.

Force Multipliers and Self-reliance (3.00 / 2) (#253)
by cam on Wed Aug 18, 2004 at 04:45:50 PM EST

I mean come on what is a force multiplier and why has it any meaning in the defense of Australia?

From the "Fundamentals of Australian Aerospace Power";

Force Multipliers provide external capabilities to increase the effectiveness of combat systems.

Common examples of force multipliers are air-to-air refuelling and Airborne Early Warning and Control systems. While they add considerably tot he potency of the main weaponry they are a large point of failure as well and need to be well defended.

Do you really think the UK, ... would hesitate a second to help Australia? Would any country with the resources to conduct an invasion over water risk the wrath of an US economic boycott? Or worse military retaliation?

Australia can defend itself, and needs to be certain of that. There is no way Australia should be reliant on the US or UK to defend Australia or the ocean approaches to Australia.

The problem with relying on other nations to defend your country was shown in 1942 when Australia thought Britain was going to bail it out. Britain was over-extended in Europe and couldnt send any naval assets to the Pacific. Today the US is over-extended with Iraq. It is naive and reckless to put Australian security in the hands of another nation.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

The proof of the pudding is in the eating (none / 1) (#255)
by epepke on Thu Aug 19, 2004 at 04:26:22 AM EST

Build some planes; they'll either be good or not so good. Then everyone will notice or not notice. Unless they don't get built, in which case everyone is sure not to notice.

Before that happens, this is all just speculation.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


Not a good idea (none / 0) (#261)
by vastor on Fri Aug 20, 2004 at 07:03:12 PM EST

One of the big benefits we (Australia) have of our alliance with the USA is a technology advance. ie. the USA won't sell the latest gear to countries such as Indonesia until we've got the next generation advantage.

Forming an alliance with S.Korea and Taiwan for a development would risk losing that historic benefit.  S.Korea and N.Korea may not be the most stable of situations - and you could be sure of China getting access to any developments done in S.Korea eventually (if not by spying, then by any deterioration of the situation).

Taiwan is an area that is bound to come to some sort of reconciliation with China in the next 20 years or so. Maybe genuine, maybe by invasion.

Japan isn't supposed to have more than a defense force. However they would be the best option to partner with... though as the global situation shifts, I could see Japan shifting alliance more towards China than the USA.

Any increase in military spending for Australia is excessive given the stability of our region (as far as military incursions into our borders go). The money would be better spent helping out our struggling neighbours IMO.

There are plenty of more worthwhile causes to pour AUD$1.5bn a year into than the military.

US Dependency... (none / 0) (#265)
by lithos on Sat Sep 04, 2004 at 09:43:03 AM EST

The idea of us toying with the JSF is just John Howard and Robert Hill wanting to have with the same toys as the kids they hang out with.

I believe we should get some Su-34's. The only real advances that the JSF has made beyond the F-15 or -16 is stealth, Supercruise and maybe VTOL.

Su-34's would probably be much cheaper. The Russian's make some damn fine equipment, some even better than the Americans (Witness the AK-4774). I think, though am not sure, that the Su-27's were designed to take American missiles (the idea being that they could use captured munitions). Of course, once we buy Russian, the US probably won't sell anything to us.

The JSF has been specifically designed to integrate with the America defence machine. We have two offensive aircraft at the moment. The US has several times that, and thus can create "niche" machines, and support it's massive military industry.

I do think that the UK would come Australia's aid if we got invaded. After all, we bailed them out of two world wars.
"Live forever, or die in the attempt." -Joseph Heller, Catch-22

The Austral-Asian Strike Fighter | 268 comments (261 topical, 7 editorial, 2 hidden)
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