Skip to comments.Australia the losers in the Asian arms race
Posted on 07/17/2007 8:19:42 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Australia the losers in the Asian arms race
Date: Monday, 9 July 2007 Defence analyst by Dr Carlo Kopp writes:
Listening to the august pronouncements of our Defence Minister, in unison with the Defence bureaucracy, over recent months, one could almost be forgiven for missing the fact that Australia is now in the midst of the most intensive regional arms race seen since the late Cold War. The deeper reality is that Australia is now repeating exactly the same kind of defence planning blunders committed during the late 1930s.
In July, 1939, Australia took delivery of its first CAC Wirraways, an armed trainer touted then as good enough to tackle the modern Japanese fighters appearing then in the region. The rest is history. It is said that one RAAF pilot, before taking off in his Wirraway to confront the fearsome Japanese Zeroes, commented to his commanding officer: 'Morituri te Salutant', the Roman gladiators' traditional salutation before entering the arena. Suffice to say, very few of these brave young men made it home. The Wirraway was no match for the Zero. Nor was the rotund Brewster Buffalo, flown by Australian pilots in Malaya, and wiped out by the Zeroes within the first few days of combat.
Were better fighters available at the time? Absolutely. Lockheed built the superlative P-38 fighter. It later became the top scoring aircraft in the Pacific theatre of World War II, and saved the American daylight bombing campaign from annihilation over Germany in late 1943.
What is different in 2007, versus 1937, in Defence planning terms? Very little it seems. In 2002, the Defence bureaucracy declared the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to be the best choice for the RAAF. Despite intensive criticism by most senior defence analysts, ongoing price creep upwards, and performance creep downwards, the bureaucrats continue to cling to the JSF as their panacea solution. Earlier this year the Defence Minister, after many months of intensive public objection by defence analysts, decided to buy 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets, as gapfillers before the JSFs arrive, eventually.
Why does this matter? Asia is arming itself to the teeth, and with spare cash to burn, nothing is off limits today. The money is mostly being put into Russian Flanker fighter aircraft, airborne early warning aircraft, Ilyushin aerial refuelling aircraft, cruise missiles, smart bombs of every persuasion, and advanced guided missiles. Most of this gear is designed or made in Russia which, post-Cold War, has become the leading supplier of hi-tech weapons in Asia.
Canberra appears blissfully unaware of the changes we are seeing in Asia. The F/A-18F and Joint Strike Fighter are outclassed by the Russian jets on all cardinal specs. Neither has the speed, range or payload to stop modern cruise missile attacks. Both will at best be good for chasing tanks on the battlefield, and neither has deterrent value or combat effect when put up against the Russian hardware now appearing in Asia.
Despite better choices like Lockheed-Martin's F-22 Raptor fighter, the defence bureaucracy and minister are in the process of repeating the blunders of the late 1930s.
Silly hysteria — the F-35 despite its failings is more than sufficient for Australia’s needs, and it can’t afford the F-22.
Don’t believe that the US is offering F-22s to foreign countries.
Do you suppose the decision to buy Hornets and Lightning IIs might have to do with affordability? and do you think the Raptor might have some really stringent export restrictions?
Wait... the F-35 is outclassed by Russian jets? Didn’t we build the F-15 or F-16 to beat them? Or was it another jet?
I think you are referring to the F-22 itself.The F-15/16/18 were all designed in the same era as the main russian threats(the SU-27 & Mig-29 variants).
It is said that apart from stealth the F-35’s was designed to have a performance just better than the F-16.
The Raptor is terribly expensive for Australia to buy in reasonable numbers(which is over 20),even if it wants to.Besides,it is on the no-export list.
Carlo Kopp is one of the most vocal proponents of the Aussies buying Raptor-The best way to do that is to ratchet up the threat of Russian Flankers & rubbish the SuperHornets & Lightnings.One of his suggestions is to buy F-22s for air superiority & keep the F-111s going till about 2020,when the Strike variant of the Raptor appears.
Only the Aussies can decide what they really need and will be able to afford. But, I’m reminded of all the years we painted the Rooskies as being 10 feet tall, and they turned out to be only about 5’8”.
Yes, but what is his real agenda. He doesn't want them to buy the best available weapons by holding out an unobtainable carrot? Even if they were available, the Australians couldn't afford enough F-22s to form a credible force.
If they aren't going to buy the F-35s, they might as well shop for Russian planes.
In those years,there were few effective means to find out what the Russians were really coming up with,so it made sense to err on the side of caution.These days, American built aircraft & Russian built jets serving with various nations regularly conduct exercises,among other things.
Despite better choices like Lockheed-Martin’s F-22 Raptor fighter, the defence bureaucracy and minister are in the process of repeating the blunders of the late 1930s.”
I didn’t realize that the USA was selling the F-22 to any of its allies.
Also, please explain to me why the F-35 (JSF) is inferior to Russian aircraft. I have seen briefings on the JSF and while it is not in the same class as the F-22, it has a lot of stealth and other capabilities. Of course, I am not an expert in the field.
However, Australia also needs long range over water, and the single engine F-35 isn't the best choice. Nor is the SuperHornet with it's short range.
The F-15K with AESA radar would have been a much better choice for an interim air superiority fighter than the SuperHornet, and a much better replacement for the F-111 in the maritime interdiction role.
I can't imagine the SuperHornet cost that much less than the F-15K, and since so much of the SuperHornet is unique from the older and smaller (A)F/A-18A/Bs that Australia flies, commonality isn't a real argument in the SuperHornet's favor, either.
“The F-15K with AESA radar would have been a much better choice for an interim air superiority fighter than the SuperHornet, and a much better replacement for the F-111 in the maritime interdiction role.”
I agree & we should sell them our old F15’s & F14’s.
Very distinctly remember our first visit on board a front-line Russian warship, where we were shocked by the vermin (not to mention the painted-shut missile tubes). In any event, we spent them into bankruptcy.
“I’ll bet with Australian pilot training and an F-35 over PLAAF pilot training and the Su-30.”
I wont. And PLAAF is still far away. Their more immidiate concern would be the Indonesian F-16s, F-5s and Su-30s.
And add to that even Malaysian airforce has the F/A-18 hornets, F-5s, Mig 29s and Su-30MKMs.
No, we should sell them brand new F-15Ks. As far as our old F-15s and F-14 go, they were maintence intensive, and that’s what they have now with the F-111s that they wish to retire. If they wanted aircraft that required lots of maintenace, they’d stick with the F-111Cs and Gs they have now.
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