Military History | How To Make War | Wars Around the World Rules of Use How to Behave on an Internet Forum
Australia Discussion Board
   Return to Topic Page
Subject: Are Mid Life Upgrades a waste of time and money
Volkodav    1/23/2009 5:12:42 AM
Considering our bad record with behind schedule, over budget and below expected capability MLU's are they really worth doing or should we, case by case be looking to replace or supplement the ADF's frontline combat equipment rather than automatically upgrading it? A good example that comes to mind it the M-113, there were proven, affordable upgrades available but the decision was made to gold plate what should have been a straight forward phased upgrade resulting in massive delays and cost increases. Would it not have been better to have run an obsolescence program incorporating some basic improvements while at the same time acquiring a modern AIFV to supplement the APC's in the Mech INF. With the FFG's would it not have made more sense to have bought and upgraded all 4 Kidd class DDG's as replacements for the DDG's and then retiring the four original FFG's without replacement and providing MELBOURNE and NEWCASTLE with minimal upgrades to allow them to serve until the AWD's became available. Something that is often forgotten is heavily utilised platforms get tired and will be less suitable for upgrade. i.e. the ASLAV's have had a very busy life and replacement may make more sense than a MLU, where the Abrams we bought, though older than the ASLAV's, had spent most of their lives in storage making then good value to upgrade.
 
Quote    Reply

Show Only Poster Name and Title     Newest to Oldest
Pages: 1 2 3   NEXT
AdvanceAustralia       1/23/2009 2:01:29 PM
Mid-life upgrades can be a valuable way of keeping a useful asset up to date and competitive on the
battlefield. The M113 and FFG programmes are nothing more than the government "flogging a dead
horse" in a misguided attempt to defer the expenditure necessary to replace the asset once it is
outdated.
 
The Sea Sprog project was a similar example - take something that should have been
dead and buried long ago and put bells 'n' whistles on it to avoid spending money on something new.

An MLU for the M113 might have been relevant in the 1970s but is now taking more effort than
would have been required to find a modern replacement.
 
Do the job properly in the first place and save time and money every time.
 
Cheers.
 
 
Quote    Reply

AdvanceAustralia       1/23/2009 2:06:05 PM

Mid-life upgrades can be a valuable way of keeping a useful asset up to date and competitive on the

battlefield. The M113 and FFG programmes are nothing more than the government "flogging a dead

horse" in a misguided attempt to defer the expenditure necessary to replace the asset once it is

outdated.

 

The Sea Sprog project was a similar example - take something that should have been


dead and buried long ago and put bells 'n' whistles on it to avoid spending money on something new.




An MLU for the M113 might have been relevant in the 1970s but is now taking more effort than


would have been required to find a modern replacement.


 

Do the job properly in the first place and save time and money every time.


 

Cheers.


 
Now SP is really stretching it - I hit the enter button each time I reached the ad to continue on a new line...
 
Quote    Reply

Aussiegunneragain    AA   1/23/2009 8:18:33 PM

Mid-life upgrades can be a valuable way of keeping a useful asset up to date and competitive on the

battlefield. The M113 and FFG programmes are nothing more than the government "flogging a dead

horse" in a misguided attempt to defer the expenditure necessary to replace the asset once it is

outdated.

 

The Sea Sprog project was a similar example - take something that should have been


dead and buried long ago and put bells 'n' whistles on it to avoid spending money on something new.




An MLU for the M113 might have been relevant in the 1970s but is now taking more effort than


would have been required to find a modern replacement.


 

Do the job properly in the first place and save time and money every time.


 

Cheers.


 

Agreed, there is nothing wrong with MLU's so long as they are conducted for the right reasons and on a realistic manner. Many of the MLU's nowdays aren't MLU's at all.In particular it is a complete joke to call the M-113 upgrade to be an MLU, it is more like an attempted resurection! Had prioritised their replacement with IFV's ahead of the ASLAV and Bushmaster purchases, we wouldn't be in this bind. Similarily the current situation where we are to try and upgrade the FFG's as an interim air warfare capability, that is the result of not prioritising a proper replacement for the DDG's ahead of the ANZAC's in the late 80's/early 90's. Both situations are a decades long legacy of the DOA and reflect the mishappen strategic priorities of our politicians, rather than an problem with using MLU's for the right reasons.
 
As for the problem  gold plating, those plague our new purchases as well and is really something that the uniformed arm of defence should be held accountable for.
 
Quote    Reply

Volkodav       1/25/2009 8:39:46 AM
Similarly the current situation where we are to try and upgrade the FFG's as an interim air warfare capability, that is the result of not prioritising a proper replacement for the DDG's ahead of the ANZAC's in the late 80's/early 90's.
 
Interestingly enough the DDG's had a series of successful upgrades through their lives and, except for the lack of a helicopter, were more capable than the FFG's.  Their main problem was the size of their crews and issues with their aging steam plants.  There was even a suggestion that they could be re-engined with Gas Turbines (thankfully this went no where).
 
The plan was that they would be replaced with a class of DDG's, possibly based on the MEKO concept, that would have followed straight on from the ANZAC's and then go on and replace the FFG's.  If any ships were to be retired without replacement it would have been the FFG's.
 
In the end the DDG's were retired early, victims of there large crewing requirement, and the FFG's and ANZAC's were each forced to step up a level to fill roles for which they were never intended.  Two ambitious upgrade programs were launched to permit the DDG's to be retired without replacement, the above mentioned FFG upgrade with its many woes and the ANZAC WIP which planned to fit Aegis and SM-2 to our little MEKO's.  The AWD program only eventuated when WIP and the option to buy and upgrade the Kidd's or even early Ticonderoga's had been canned and Timor had reiterated the need.
 
So basically there was a plan, maybe not the best plan, but still a plan that would have seen the DDG's replaced a decade earlier with something substantially better than the upgraded FFG's that are only now entering service.  That something else may even have been the F-100 which was available in the desired time frame,or a MEKO equivalent there of.
 
As for replacing the DDG's in the Late 80's or early 90's, this would only have been possible if we bought an off the shelf design and built it overseas as our local industry was only just starting to recover after years of neglect following the cancelation of the DDL program by Whitlam.  Just look how long it took to build Melbourne and Newcastle to the same Baseline as Darwin, then compare that to Tenix's ever improving performance in the ANZAC program.  An Australian built DDG probably could not have been done back then and even if it could have, or had the decission been made to build off shore, the cost would have killed the Collins project; but a DDG following on from from the last ANZAC at Williamstown would have worked.
 
Quote    Reply

Aussiegunneragain    Volkodav   1/25/2009 7:21:34 PM

Similarly the current situation where we are to try and upgrade the FFG's as an interim air warfare capability, that is the result of not prioritising a proper replacement for the DDG's ahead of the ANZAC's in the late 80's/early 90's.

 
Interestingly enough the DDG's had a series of successful upgrades through their lives and, except for the lack of a helicopter, were more capable than the FFG's.  Their main problem was the size of their crews and issues with their aging steam plants.  There was even a suggestion that they could be re-engined with Gas Turbines (thankfully this went no where).

 
The plan was that they would be replaced with a class of DDG's, possibly based on the MEKO concept, that would have followed straight on from the ANZAC's and then go on and replace the FFG's.  If any ships were to be retired without replacement it would have been the FFG's.

 In the end the DDG's were retired early, victims of there large crewing requirement, and the FFG's and ANZAC's were each forced to step up a level to fill roles for which they were never intended.  Two ambitious upgrade programs were launched to permit the DDG's to be retired without replacement, the above mentioned FFG upgrade with its many woes and the ANZAC WIP which planned to fit Aegis and SM-2 to our little MEKO's.  The AWD program only eventuated when WIP and the option to buy and upgrade the Kidd's or even early Ticonderoga's had been canned and Timor had reiterated the need.

 So basically there was a plan, maybe not the best plan, but still a plan that would have seen the DDG's replaced a decade earlier with something substantially better than the upgraded FFG's that are only now entering service.  That something else may even have been the F-100 which was available in the desired time frame,or a MEKO equivalent there of.
 
As for replacing the DDG's in the Late 80's or early 90's, this would only have been possible if we bought an off the shelf design and built it overseas as our local industry was only just starting to recover after years of neglect following the cancelation of the DDL program by Whitlam.  Just look how long it took to build Melbourne and Newcastle to the same Baseline as Darwin, then compare that to Tenix's ever improving performance in the ANZAC program.  An Australian built DDG probably could not have been done back then and even if it could have, or had the decission been made to build off shore, the cost would have killed the Collins project; but a DDG following on from from the last ANZAC at Williamstown would have worked.

Thats an interesting bit of history, thanks. I had previously heard that the reason that a DDG replacement wasn't prioritised was that the DOA schmucks thought that since the Australian Navy would only every operate under RAAF air cover, that that would suffice.
Anyway, I still think that they got our shipbuilding priorities out of whack and that we are still paying for it today. My thoughts on what we might have done would have been to not build the ANZAC's and buy into the F-100 program instead. We had 6 FFG's and we could have either gotten a couple of surplus USN OHP's (as have several other navies)to supplement them or just kept the last two River's running a bit longer in training and general patrol roles. That would have sufficed for our patrol frigate force and would have seen us with our first F-100 just after the turn of the century, like the Spanish had.
 
If we were only buying 3 F-100's and a couple of second hand OHP's rather than 8 ANZAC's, I'd imagine that the books would have pretty much balanced. If not, we could have just spread the Collins purchase out over a longer period and kept an O-Boat or two in service for training. It wouldn't have been a drama given that we can only crew 3-4 Collins class anyway.
 
I also question why we couldn't have still built our own F-100's earlier, even if our shipbuilding industry was behind the 8 ball. As I understand it they are just a bigger hull than the ANZAC's with the real technological challenge being integration of AEGIS, which we would have had US and Spanish help with. If we could whack together a bunch of very good submarines which we had redesigned ourselves (with a fair few teething troubles, granted), then surely a big skimmer should have been reletively easy.
 <
 
Quote    Reply

Aussie Diggermark 2       1/26/2009 2:10:59 AM
The fact of the matter as things stand is that if we do not upgrade our military equipment, we will be operating entirely obsolete equipment.
 
Australian Governments have continually underfunded the Australian defence force. If we hadn't upgraded the M113, we'd still be operating M113A1's. 
 
If the Hornets were not upgraded, we'd be flying APG-65 equipped Hornets, fitted with AIM-9M Sidewinders and AIM-7 Sparrows.
 
We'd still not have any DDG frigates and we'd be sailing FFG's that had no Mk 41, no ESSM and the fitout of sensors that they had in the 1980's. 
 
Our Government WILL not spend what defence needs to be current and the financial "crisis" is yet another excuse why they cannot.
 
Social Security spending will increase yet again, defence, transport, education, health and research will all suffer so that people don't have to struggle...
 
Until populist politicians are removed from office and people who WILL fix issues are voted in, we will continue to suffer from these "what could have been" issues...
 
 
 
Quote    Reply

DropBear       1/26/2009 3:03:55 AM
If the Hornets were not upgraded, we'd be flying APG-65 equipped Hornets, fitted with AIM-9M Sidewinders and AIM-7 Sparrows.
 
Quite, however, I wonder whether the cost associated with the complexities of CBR is worth it in the latter phases of the HUG program. Could we not have replaced the most fatigued frames and purchased earlier Block1 SH to offset the costs?
 
Sometimes there are available alternatives to the upgrade paths, albeit perhaps at a higher initial capital outlay.
 
 
 
Quote    Reply

Aussiegunneragain    AD   1/26/2009 4:39:15 AM

Our Government WILL not spend what defence needs to be current and the financial "crisis" is yet another excuse why they cannot.

I agree in general that we should make a greater commitment to having a good defence force though I'd caution against flippantly understating the very serious likely impact of the financial crisis. We are talking an increase in unemployment from 4.5% to 6% over the next year, thats a 25% increase, and it may get worse from there over coming years. That probably won't affect you as a government employee but there are a lot of people out there who are going to be hurting a lot, and by that I mean loosing everything because they can't pay their mortgage without a job and their property value will drop below what they owe,  and this is not necessarily as a result of anything that they have done wrong. The only upside WRT defence spending is that our economy is in better shape to other economies to start with, so if we have to cut defence spending it will probably by less than our potential state protagonists.

 
Quote    Reply

Volkodav       1/26/2009 4:50:57 AM
Going Block 1 SH's instead of HUG was something even Kopp thought was a good idea and I do remember Bomber suggesting that the F-111 needed replacement during the early 2000's although I believe that was associated with the unsolicited offer from BAE for a strike version of the Typhoon fitted with conformal tanks and Storm Shadow and not SH's, although I could be mistaken.  Then there was also the early 90's Canadian proposal to buy our newer F/A-18A/B's to increase their available pool of airframes to better manage structurallife issues; with the plan being our local production would continue but with C's and D's instead of A's and B's. 
 
The M-113 upgrade is a joke.  Everyone and their dog has been upgrading them for a couple of decades without any major drama, yet we stuggle.  What the Brits did with the Bulldog shows just how shocking we are at managing even simple upgrades these days when you lookat how much they achieved in how little time.
 
We used to do very well just look at the Oberons.  They were the most capable conventionalboats in the world post upgrade, with most of the work being managed and intergrated locally.  Now we can't even successfully copy work done by others, even when they are guiding us every step of the way. 
 
Could it be our current generation of managers are not up to the job?  I know I regularly see examples of people in leadership positions that I wouldn't trust to fit new tyre to my car let alone manage the upgrade and maintenance of critical defence equipment.  I am not saying they are all bad but rather suggesting that too many of them are at best speed humps and all too often road blocks who prevent those who do know what they are doing from doing it as well as they could.
 
 
Quote    Reply

Aussiegunneragain    Arrrgh...   1/26/2009 5:00:59 AM
We are talking an increase in unemployment from 4.5% to 6% over the next year, thats a 25% increase, and it may get worse from there over coming years.
 
.... damn fuzzy brain. Of course I meant 33% :-).
 
Quote    Reply
1 2 3   NEXT



 Latest
 News
 
 Most
 Read
 
 Most
 Commented
 Hot
 Topics