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Thread: Aus: $6bn F-18 purchase

  1. #1
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Aus: $6bn F-18 purchase

    $6 Billion to MAINTAIN AUSTRALIA’S REGIONAL AIR SUPERIORITY

    Australia is assured of maintaining its air combat capability edge with the Government’s decision to acquire 24 F/A-18F Block II Super Hornet multi role aircraft. At a cost of approximately $6 billion over 10 years, the acquisition of the Super Hornet will ensure the transition to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter over the next decade.

    The acquisition will include 24 aircraft, initial support and upfront training for aircrew and maintenance personnel.

    The Howard Government has delivered solid economic management and Budget surpluses over a decade. We are now in a position to deliver this for Australia. The acquisition of the Super Hornets will be fully supplemented as part of the 2007/08 Budget process.

    The JSF is the most suitable aircraft for Australia’s future combat and strike needs. Australia remains fully committed to the JSF. But the Government is not prepared to accept any risk to air combat and strike capability during the transition to the JSF.

    The F/A-18F Super Hornet is a highly capable, battle proven, multi role aircraft that is currently in service with the US Navy through to 2030. The next generation Block II Super Hornets will provide a more flexible operational capability than currently exists with the F-111.

    Only last week Aviation Week reported “Supporters of the design say it will give the Block II Boeing built Navy aircraft a fifth-generation capability similar to that of the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Hornet’s electronic attack capabilities could become even more sophisticated with additional modifications.” – Aviation Week 26 February, 2007

    It is anticipated that Australian personnel will begin Super Hornet training in the United States in 2009.

    The selection of the Super Hornet builds on the Royal Australian Air Force’s deep understanding of the current F/A-18 fleet. The Block II Super Hornet will provide Air Force with the flexibility to assign all air combat crew and technical personnel across a relatively common fleet during the transition to the JSF.

    The Super Hornet will be based at RAAF Base Amberley. Negotiations for commercial support arrangements will commence immediately. Defence is already engaged with Boeing and the United States Navy to ensure that the maximum potential of Australian Industry Involvement is achieved. Local Industry participation will be a key factor in developing the through life support concepts for the Super Hornets.

    The Australian Super Hornet program plans to contain local contractor owned and operatedintermediate maintenance and training for aircrew and support personnel. Additionally, the supply chain infrastructure, warehousing and operation will be manned locally in support of both Australian and US Navy Super Hornets in the region.

    The selection of a next generation fighter allows for upskilling of the workforce. The Super Hornet brings a significant growth of capability within the support and supply chain, low observable materials (stealth), advanced sensors and IT. This will ensure that Australian industry is trained, qualified and has access to both USN and then JSF markets as they share common technologies.

    This in no way diminishes our commitment to the JSF Program subject to final Government approval in 2008. Current planning is for Australia to acquire its first JSF in 2013.

    There is no gap in Australia’s air combat capability and the Government is taking all necessary steps to ensure a gap does not emerge.
    Air combat capability is vital to defend the approaches to Australia and enables us to operate air power on deployment overseas. Our air combat forces are a key part of enhancing our land and maritime forces. This was most ably displayed by the combat performance of our F/A-18 squadron in Iraq in 2003.

    The Australian Government is committed to retaining the leading edge in air combat and the Block II Super Hornet will enable this through the next decade.

    The F-111 has been a stalwart aircraft at the centre of Australia's strike capability for over three decades. The Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Shepherd, a pilot with around 2500 hours flying F-111’s, said it is important for Australia to retire the F-111 at a time of our choosing. This ensures that the men and women who operate them are not endangered through the risks of an aging platform.

    The withdrawal of the F-111 is expected in 2010 with the F/A-18F Super Hornets to be operational that same year.

    Many generations of Air Force personnel and Defence civilians will be sad to see the F-111 withdrawn from service in 2010. The Government acknowledges the tireless efforts and professionalism of personnel at Amberley who have maintained this vital element of Australia's Defence. The immense experience base from decades of F-111 service will boost the new air combat capability in the coming decade.

    Our nation is grateful to those who gave Australia this magnificent aircraft, those who have flown and maintained it and who will do so for a further three years.

    With the C-17 and KC-30B tanker refuelling aircraft also to be based out of Amberley, as well as the Wedgetail AEW&C support centre, the region is well placed to capitalise on these significant aerospace industry involvement opportunities.

    The Super Hornet provides Australia with the greatest capability enhancement and least risk option to ensure Australia’s capability edge.
    Broadcast quality vision of the F/A-18 Super Hornet will be sent to television networks at Parliament House.


    Source: Untitled Document
    Life... is like a box of chocolates. A cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that nobody ever asks for. Unreturnable, because all you get back is another box of chocolates. All you've got left in the end... is an empty box... filled with useless, brown paper wrappers.

  2. #2
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    Oooh, new Rhinos for Oz.

    This oughta put Carlo's panties in a bunch, lol.
    "We will go through our federal budget – page by page, line by line – eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way." -President Barack Obama 11/25/2008

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    6 billion dollars for 24 planes?!!!! That comes out to 400 million dollars per plane!!!! They cost way more than a Raptor!!!!!!!
    Shocking!

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    I wonder what they will be worth when the 35's arrive?
    I imagine the depreciation on a plane would be nasty.

    We've got some swanky tanks and planes, now if only we could figure out a way to get our guys to countries when they are needed, rather than 2 weeks later.

    Also I think we should have got a 10% discount at least for Iraq.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blademaster View Post
    6 billion dollars for 24 planes?!!!! That comes out to 400 million dollars per plane!!!! They cost way more than a Raptor!!!!!!!
    Shocking!
    Nice math, lol.

    If you just divide $6 Bn by 24 frames, you should get $250 Mil, not $400. That's about $190 Mil USD.

    As always there are spares, weapons, training, maintenence, offsets, etc to be considered if one chooses to look at the deal honestly. IIRC there is 10 years of support included in the deal.

    There will also likely be a saving on the HUG Bugs, since Oz will probably reduce the # of frames to be upgraded. It will also permit the Varks to be retired on schedule.
    "We will go through our federal budget – page by page, line by line – eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way." -President Barack Obama 11/25/2008

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    Doh! My bad. I divided 24 by 6 and that's how I got 400 million. Should have divided 6 by 6 to get to 1 and 24 to get to 4 and then divide 1 by 4 to get to .25. That's how I mentally calculate things. I try to reduce things to simple math calculations to avoid scrunching up my eyebrows and overload my brain.

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    Average program costs are 60%, I haven't heard anything on this deal to suggest it will be otherwise. There are 6 spare engines and 30 self-defense systems included- I don't know what else, other than I heard the maintenance agreement is ten years.

    But taking the average of 60/40, that would put the flyaway cost ~$76 Mil USD per frame, which is inline with what the USN pays for Super Hornets.
    "We will go through our federal budget – page by page, line by line – eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way." -President Barack Obama 11/25/2008

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    There was no doubt that Australia is going to have air superiority for a while. They will be purchasing F-22s in like a few decades or less.
    Those who can't change become extinct.

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    And another $1.5 billion spent

    RAAF cops $1.5bn jet blowout
    TAXPAYERS will be slugged with a 12 per cent increase in the cost of new fighter jets (F-35) for the RAAF which could now hit $100 million each.

    RAAF cops $1.5bn jet blowout | NEWS.com.au
    Last edited by RadioM; 17 Mar 07, at 05:17. Reason: Spell Check!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RadioM View Post
    And another $1.5 billion spent
    Ermm, you do know that Australia hasn't placed any orders yet, don'y you?

    Anyway, just for you RadioM, here is the response [to the slanted media stories] from the ADF.
    JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER (JSF)



    On 15 March 2007 the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its annual report to the US Congress on the progress of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program.

    The GAO Report acknowledged progress in a number of areas, including:

    · Completion of the Program re-baselining;

    · Flight of the first test aircraft;

    · Analysis which shows that the JSF is meeting all performance specifications, except for one, which is dependent on progress on another program;

    · Positive progress in developing production facilities; and

    · The benefits of some concurrency between testing and production.



    The GAO report also identified a number of cost increases but many of these are outside the control of the JSF Program and include general economic factors, increases in the cost of materials, etc.

    Australian media are incorrectly reporting that the cost of the JSF has risen to US$112 million. This reporting is based on a misinterpretation of the figure quoted in the GAO report. To determine the cost of individual aircraft the figure needs to be discounted because:

    · It includes development costs;

    · It is based on a ‘Then Year’ cost basis - which takes into account inflation out to the end of the JSF Program, around 2040 – rather than a ‘Constant Year’ cost basis;

    · It includes the cost of such factors as spares, support equipment, training systems, facilities etc;

    · It does not include the effect of JSF buyers other than the US – with around 500 additional aircraft planned for existing partners alone.; and

    · The lower average price for the Australian-preferred Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) variant.

    The resulting figure is consistent with US Department of Defense (DoD) reporting to the US Congress of an average CTOL ‘flyaway’ cost of around US$47 million (BY02US$). Lockheed Martin is predicting a lower cost.

    These, and other cost factors – including the cost effect of Australia planning to buy earlier than the overall average buy - were taken into account in the First Pass approval for the New Air Combat Capability project in November 2007.





    The GAO report also identifies some slips to the Program schedule but these are generally in the order of a few months and the JSF Project Office has strategies in place to recover the schedule.

    While the GAO report identifies risk associated with too high a level of production before testing is complete, the US DoD argues that: ‘the current JSF acquisition strategy provides an effective balance of technical risk, financial constraints and operational needs of the Services.’

    Defence concurs with the US DoD position and is confident that the JSF will mature to provide the capability Australia needs in the most cost effective way.



    Media contact:

    Defence Media Liaison (02) 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664

    ADF :: Online Media Room
    "We will go through our federal budget – page by page, line by line – eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way." -President Barack Obama 11/25/2008

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    Slanted Media Stories? What Mr Murdoch has led me astray. Fortunatly the ADF will set me straight.

    The cost will blow out eventually, its what the ADF sadly specialise in highsea.

    Whilst the cost per plane may not be 100mill the (proposed) project cost still seems to have gone up by 1.5 Billion? Also it may not be ordered yet but it has long been planned. Why else would we hang onto the F-111 fo so long.

    1.5 is a big number considering our defence budget and would go along way to getting another infantry battalion started that we have been promised for some time.

    The main thing is can the JSF do the swanky fuel-burn like the F-111 at air shows etc.
    Last edited by RadioM; 19 Mar 07, at 02:25.

  12. #12
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    Half-truths then. You have to know how to read the GAO reports to understand them, and most reporters don't seem to take the time.

    The F-35 program is very well-run. About the only way the costs can blowout is if the US Congress fails to fund the production schedule.

    The ADF has no say in that, but the RAAF might be offered earlier production slots if it comes to that.
    "We will go through our federal budget – page by page, line by line – eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way." -President Barack Obama 11/25/2008

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    I've been worried about an attack by Fiji. This will go a long way to calm our fears. It was possible that we could have held them off with the old F111s, but we shouldn't leave anything to chance when it comes to our national security.

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    Or will Fiji join with others in the Sth Pacific to launch a "coalition of the palm trees" attack.
    Will New Zealand be with us or against us?

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    Dirty Kiwi Senior Contributor
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    Hey back off, just remember we've got 25 Skyhawks tucked away in a warehouse in Christchurch. Tremble in fear!
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