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Author Topic: Australian White Paper
TWalt
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posted 12-07-2000 11:40 AM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
After perusing thru the air defense chapter, it looks like the Aussies will need to start their new fighter acquisition by 2006. From what I've read, the JSF is a couple years out from this unless they are willing to postpone acquisition (doubtful unless JSF really impresses them). Realistically, I think that leaves the Rafale, EF-2000, F/A-18E/F and the F-22A (yes I'm leaving out the Su-30/37 for some very good reasons). Out of these, the high pricetag of the EF-2000 when even marginally equipped is too high. At nearly double the competitors (except of course the F-22A), not enough Typhoons could be purchased to replace the 71 Hornets (not to mention the F-111's). The Rafale and Super Hornet both offer much more bang per buck with the Rafale making up it's slightly higher tag with better pure performance (Mach 2, Thrust/Weight, turn performance except low-speed). I think the Rafale allows a competitive aircraft to the threat, good upgradability, and is versatile enough to fufill both air defense and strike, even long range when using a small tanker fleet. There's very little risk (Rafale full version is slowly coming along) and the a large number can be had to fully replace both the existing Hornet and Aardvark fleet.
The F-22A/JSF combo is both risky and too expensive. Even a pure F-22A buy would not accrue sufficient numbers to be effective, especially considering the very limited strike capability of the F-22A. JSF won't enter production in time to replace properly the existing airframes so a delay would be necessary if it is chosen. Price-wize JSF is very competitive and would also offer better performance thru stealth in all roles. If they can wait, JSF is the obvious best buy but also includes the risks of a brand new aircraft using stealth (maintenance/support issues).
F/A-18E/F is probably a solid cheap alternative, especially considering Boeing is willing to offer credit for any existing F/A-18A/B the Aussies turn over. This means the lowest costs and probably the most airframes for the money. Of course you get mediocre air defense performance but probably also the best strike performance. IMHO the Aussies are putting air defense first so this would hinder a Super Hornet buy. In it's export config, the AESA equipped Super Hornet would have very competitive radar performance and an RCS lower than the Rafale coupled with an advanced towed decoy (ALE-55) and ECM system. Air defense performance is mostly limited by it's lack of pure energy (M 1.6, mediocre T/W) but dogfight performance is spectacular (no AOA limits and easily the best nose pointer in existance with a solid HMS system). Upgradability would not be a problem either (GE already is saying the F-414 have 25% growth in them). Strike performance is superb with the largest usable configs (no competitor can carry a similar strike load with self-protection), lots of gas including a usable buddy-tanking config to ease reliance on dedicated tankers or even completely remove them (again with 14,400 lbs of fuel internal alone no other aircraft can give usable fuel loads in tanker trim), and solid range (arguably larger than both EF-2000 and Rafale in strike config though numbers are not fully rated by either in testing and don't give me that manufacturer crap on there existing numbers as these don't specify anything!).
I threw out the Su-30 family as there are numerous problems with this choice. Firstly, to counter a threat with the exact aircraft is just plain ignorant. Even the white paper dictates that the follow-on must provide superiority not parity. Of course the range, speed and turn performance are premier on these birds but the large RCS (forget that plasma crap it is pure theory!), limited strike weapons (iron bombs, LGB, or ASCM but no JDAM, SLAM-ER, SCALP, etc), and limited air weapons (same as the threat) are too restricting. To those who say the Su-30 can be made to accomodate NATO weapons, the cost of this might rival the Typhoon. Look at the way the Indian deal has progressed. This is no small engineering task to say the least. ECM is definately a sore spot as well and there is no comparable targeting FLIR. This adds up to a poor choice. JUST my 2 cents!

Posts: 171 | From: | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged
Rosco
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posted 12-07-2000 03:43 PM     Profile for Rosco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
The E/F would probably be a good choice in if we're talking the {hopefully debugged} proposed Block 3 model with 27,000-30,000 lb thrust GE414's. Australia could licence build these aircraft in their existing {and long unused} Hornet factory and the with the trade-in for their early models the price should be right. The Rafale M is far more expencive than the other models or E/F at $57M.

The E/F does not have a longer range than the Rafale, which has a maximum CAP and Strike radius of 1000nm, I think the Super Buggy would have trouble even approaching that! The tanker issue is irrelevant unless there are multiple aircraft types present as not only can the Rafale buddy tank as well but the Rafale's 9,500 lbs of internal fuel lasts longer in a Rafale than 14,400 lbs lasts in a Super Hornet.

Super Hornet does have a [u]slight[/u] strike advantage due to the standard outboard HARM fit but this could change when Rafale gets the enhanced ALARM, which is small and light enough that it's likely that at least two can be carried without impacting the other stores too much.

I mostly agree regarding the Flanker series, although advanced targeting pods and ECM {coming from the SU-34} is just around the corner.



Posts: 984 | From: Hazzard County | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Raver
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posted 12-10-2000 12:05 AM     Profile for Raver   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
The actual keypoints for hardware purchases as outlined in the Aussie defence white paper are as follows:-

1/ Four new early warning aircraft, negotiations with boeing are to start a soon as possible, with the option to purchase a further three units.

2/Upto five new air-to-air refuelling aircraft to be introduced, replacing the current ageing 707's.

3/ All six of the Collins class subs to be upgraded for better acustic performance and a new combat system fitted.

4/The current 15 Frematle class of patrol boats will be replaced by a new design, and built locally, the first of which should be entering service in 2004.

5/A new purpose built support/replenishment ship to enter service in 2009.

6/The current six ANZAC frigates to be upgraded with anti-ship missiles.

7/ Three new destroyers are to be built from 2006. These new ships will are to replace the six perry class frigates currently in service.

8/ Provision for 75 new aircraft to be purchased to replace the current fleet of F/A-18's. No decision on what type of replacements until 2006, with the first replacements not expected to enter service until 2012. A further 25 aircraft may be introduced to replace the role of the F-111's currently in service, however, options including air/sea launched weapons are also being looked at, instead of replacing the F-111's.

9/ A new air-defence missle system to protect ground forces to be introduced.

10/ New body-armor for the Army as well as improved/new night vision goggles,Navigation systems, and mortar systems are to be mounted in armored vehicles instead of the current soft-skin vehicles.

11/ A new squadron of 12 troop transport helicopters to be introduced in 2007.

12/ 24 armed recon helicopters to be purchased in 2001.

13/ $2.5 billion to be spent upgrading the military's intelligence,survellance and information capability.

The Raver has spoken!


Posts: 276 | From: Melb/Aust | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
MadWallaby
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posted 12-10-2000 10:59 PM     Profile for MadWallaby   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
All,

Is the White Paper online? If so, could someone please post a link?

Many thanks.

EDIT: Aha! Bleeding great hairy links to the offending document can be found at www.defence.gov.au

--------------
MW

[This message has been edited by MadWallaby (edited 12-11-2000).]


Posts: 139 | From: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
TWalt
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posted 12-11-2000 01:25 PM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Rosco,
In considering the range profiles of the top 3 contenders (EF-2000, Rafale, Super Hornet) I can only concur that the EF-2000 states a max strike radius of 750 NM but doesn't specify the load carried. The Super Hornet has performed this mission whilst carrying 4 1,000 lb bombs (representative of the JDAM), 2 AIM-9, 2 FLIR pods (NAVFLIR/Targeting FLIR), and 2 480 gallon tanks, attaining over 460 NM range. Add a 3rd center tank and this goes beyond 520 NM. There is no substiantiated data on either the Rafale or EF-2000 in respect to this so comparing them with the manufacturer's touted numbers is bad investigative reporting. Dig a little and you will find that with the Rafale as portrayed by the manufacturer is a mistatement on words. There is no way the Rafale attains 1,000 nm radius. The website states radius of action which implies total range, not pure combat radius. As noted the Super Hornet has attained 1040 nm combat radius of action, carrying a substantial 4,000 lb strike ordnance load (4 1,000 lb MK-83, 2 AIM-9, NAVFLIR/Targeting FLIR). Care to question what the Rafale was carrying in order to get 500 NM radius? Obviously 3 tanks but I guarantee it cannot do this with a 4,000 lb ordnance load (plus 2 AAM and FLIR). The EF-2000 has also stated a 750 NM radius but no weapon fit was given. Interestingly, the same radius is given for an air superiority mission. Hmmm, sounds fishy to me. Maybe again 3 tanks and 2 500 lb bombs? You can't compare apples to oranges like this! Strap on a real, usable weapons load and then see what your now un-aerodynamic aircraft pulls!
Also, as far as buddy tanking, yes the Rafale is capable but can you strap on 4 external tanks and a refueling pod to the Rafale and still carry a usuable air defense load? Also, how much gas can you actually offload, remember the Super Hornet will tank with the entire Navy inventory (JSF, F/A-18A-F, F-14A-D). I agree that buddy tanking other Rafale is very doable but is much more limited than the Super Hornet as a tactical tanker due to much smaller amount of total fuel.

Posts: 171 | From: | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged
Rosco
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posted 12-11-2000 02:45 PM     Profile for Rosco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
TWalt,

The Rafale can carry 12 550 lb {or alternatively 6 1000} bombs and 6 MICAs over a 650 nm [u]radius[/u]. The source {no, not Dassault!} states this is at "low level" but I'm a bit inclined to think that's a HI-LO-HI figure, but it's still impressive in any case. A high level mission will get you the 1000nm figure, whether configured for CAP or carrying ~6000 lbs {2 SCALPs or 6 AASMs} of air-to-ground ordnace and 6 MICAs.

In comparison to the former figure the much larger E/F manages only a 500 nm radius while carrying an "interdiction load" as per the GAO report, and I don't think that it's hauling as much ordnance.

The last point, I concede, you really got me there! the Super Hornet is truly a Rafale beater, when it comes to the tanking mission at least. I would point out though, that the E/F is in much greater need of tanking assets!


Posts: 984 | From: Hazzard County | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
TWalt
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posted 12-12-2000 06:10 AM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Rosco,
What's your source?

Posts: 171 | From: | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged
Rosco
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posted 12-12-2000 04:50 PM     Profile for Rosco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
The Encyclopedia of Modern Warplanes by Bill Gunston, though I've seen these figures in enough places on the web to consider it verified.
Posts: 984 | From: Hazzard County | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
TWalt
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posted 12-13-2000 06:54 AM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Rosco,
I'm not trying to debunk your source or sound like I don't trust it but just read your quote:

"A high level mission will get you the 1000nm figure, whether configured for CAP or carrying ~6000 lbs {2 SCALPs or 6 AASMs} of air-to-ground ordnace and 6 MICAs."

Logically that's not possible. In a CAP configuration (3 tanks, 6 MICA, 2 MAGIC), there is significantly less drag and less weight vs carrying even 2 SCALPS and 3 tanks or 6 AASM's and 3 tanks. This would dismiss the manufacturer's stated 1000 NM range for both roles unless a significantly smaller package of strike weapons is used. I suspect this is the same data Bill Gunston used as no other data has been released from the manufacturer (or anybody else like the actual testers in the French Air Force/Navy). Mr Gunston has no other option than to state these ranges. Your first statement that the Rafale can carry 12 550 lb or 6 1000 lb bombs and 6 MICA over 650 NM radius is probably much more indicative of the actual performance. I concede that if this is true, then the Rafale has a respectable advantage still by over 130 NM but again, I have not seen anywhere this data (including MR. Gunston's works). Consider the similar characteristics and fuel load of the EF-2000 (empty weight 24,239 lbs and internal fuel load of 11,000 lbs) in this case and the EF-2000 has a low-level strike radius of only 325 NM and even the ferry range is only 2000 NM w/2 tanks (no ordnance!). Simple math shows that the stated 1000 NM strike radius for the Rafale (22,400/23,000 lbs empty weight and 9,900 lbs of fuel internal) just doesn't jive even considering it's larger fuel tanks (more weight and drag as well) unless inflight refueling is utilized. So I'd like to see some real data on this aircraft before I'll beleive the manufacturer's dribble. Again not slamming anyone just pointing out that a new aircraft's performance figures are usually grossly overstated to benefit the manufacturer.


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Rosco
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posted 12-13-2000 03:32 PM     Profile for Rosco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
CAP range figures often include a loitering and maneuvering reserve, whereas strike doesn't.

Regarding the range disparity between Typhoon and Rafale, it's my understanding that the Rafale uses considerably more fuel efficient {and less powerful} engines and also the larger drop tanks. Have said that, I'd guess that that 325nm Typhoon figure is a worst case scenario, possibly an untanked bird hauling a maximum bombload at LO-LO-LO or something similar.

I truly wish more detailed info was available but I'd be hard pressed to find detailed range/payload info on something like the F-4 Phantom let alone the 5th generation planes.


Posts: 984 | From: Hazzard County | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
TWalt
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posted 12-14-2000 02:38 PM     Profile for TWalt   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Rosco,
Well, in my research USNI database reports that the EF-2000 in a LO LO LO strike mission (7,700 lbs ordnance including 2 tanks) has a 325 NM range. The 750 NM range would most likely be a HI HI HI delivery of guided munitions which seems to be the primary strike mission of the aircraft (low risk, max range precision weapons delivery) vice CAS.
This same database reports the Rafale C (01) attained a max radius of 486 NM carrying only 2 APACHE dispencers and 2 MICA. Now even considering that you can carry slightly larger external tanks on the Rafale, I just don't see 1000 NM as a realistic range. It may very well be superior to the Super Hornet but I'd doubt by very much if at all.

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