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Subject: Should the RAAF divest non core capabilities to the other services?
Volkodav    10/17/2009 4:07:48 AM
Would Australia be better served if the RAAF,instead of retaining control of much of the ADF's diverse air capability, concentrated on and specialised in core strategic capabilities in strike, ISR, transport, as well as Continental Air Defence? The non core capabilities, where the RAAF has little interest (other than the tasks are performed by aircraft), could be assigned to the services that depend on them. I am thinking of Maritime Patrol & Strike, Fleet air defence, CAS, FAC, battle field AD, tactical transport, strike and ISR. The RAAF currently operates a variety of types that are a compromise to meet, in part, the requirements of the other services. Divesting the non core activities the RAAF could concentrate on equiping with the best gear to defend Australia and deter attack. The Army and RAN could at the same time better intergrate the capabilities they need into their ORBAT's so they can better perform their current and future missions. An example would be Army Aviation employing a fixed wing light strike aircraft for CAS as well as operating the Caribou replacement. Thoughts.
 
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Aussiegunneragain       10/17/2009 4:16:16 AM
Divesting RAAF capabilities wouldn't allow the RAAF to concentrate on core capabilities because the money pot isn't going to get any bigger. For instance, we currently use multi-role fighters and tactical bombers to conduct all pointy nosed tasks. IF the army is going to look after its own CAS where is it going to get the money from for a CAS specific aircraft? You also have to consider that by having the RAAF look after all fixed wing responbilities, we get significant syngergies in aircrew training, engineering expertise etc. I don't see this idea as a goer at all.
 
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Volkodav       10/17/2009 4:40:17 AM
True but at the same time the Army may be perfectly satisfied with the performance of an armed PC-9B in Afghanistan while the RAAF can not provide CAS as the HUG Bugs are seen as too valuable / over the top to send.
 
Air crew training would still be managed by the RAAF, as would certification etc.
 
It will be more expensive to start but IMHO in the long run it will be money well spent. The RAAF will be able to buy a mixed fleet of Air Superiority Fighters and Stategic Strike / Interdiction aircraft, as well as the required tanker transports, ISR and Command & Control asset's, they will also be able to deploy a ground based ABM capability.
 
The Army and RAN will control the air assets they rely on and will be able to demob capabilities that these organic air assets obsolete.
 
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Beryoza       10/17/2009 4:40:52 AM
Besides what Aussiegunner said, the Australian Army already handles some tactical transport (Black Hawk) as well as recce/light attack (Tiger). There's little point in assigning fixed winged CAS to the Army when Australia uses multi-role platforms.
 
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Beryoza       10/17/2009 4:42:43 AM
I'd be far more in favour of the ARA having organic CAS if dedicated assets (e.g. A-10s) were acquired, but that's highly unlikely.
 
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Volkodav       10/17/2009 4:49:59 AM
Besides what Aussiegunner said, the Australian Army already handles some tactical transport (Black Hawk) as well as recce/light attack (Tiger). There's little point in assigning fixed winged CAS to the Army when Australia uses multi-role platforms.
 
Helicopters are much more expensive to operate than fixed wing assets, this is in addition to having shorted range, lower speed and smaller payloads than a compariably roled fixed wing asset. Helo's are also less reliable, more are lost in accidents, as well as being more prone to loss following battle damage.
 
That aside helo's are extremely useful and can conduct tasks that fixed wing assets can not. What I am suggesting would result in a mix of fixed and rotary wing assets being operated, by the Army and RAN, each in their optomised role, resulting in greater capability and reduced cost.
 
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Beryoza       10/17/2009 4:57:43 AM

Besides what Aussiegunner said, the Australian Army already handles some tactical transport (Black Hawk) as well as recce/light attack (Tiger). There's little point in assigning fixed winged CAS to the Army when Australia uses multi-role platforms.
 

Helicopters are much more expensive to operate than fixed wing assets, this is in addition to having shorted range, lower speed and smaller payloads than a compariably roled fixed wing asset. Helo's are also less reliable, more are lost in accidents, as well as being more prone to loss following battle damage.

 

That aside helo's are extremely useful and can conduct tasks that fixed wing assets can not. What I am suggesting would result in a mix of fixed and rotary wing assets being operated, by the Army and RAN, each in their optomised role, resulting in greater capability and reduced cost.




No arguments from me regarding fixed v rotary winged characteristics, however, one very important consideration is the degree of infastructure both types require. Helicopters need a clearing whereas fixed wings need anything from a paved, hard, stretch of dirt, to a concrete runway and attending installations. That's one reason why I think the Hercs should stay with the RAAF.
 
Now, for other tasks, I would agree with you if we had some dedicated assets (e.g. if we picked up some A-10s, A-67s or a JDAM-configured Hawk, etc), but with multirole platforms (Hornet, Shornet, F-35) I doubt such a division would be a good idea. Even if individual squadrons were tasked with specialized missions (eg offensive/defensive counter air, recce, EW, SEAD/DEAD, CAS, interdiction, etc), it would be far simpler and more expedient to retain the assets in the one service.
 
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Beryoza       10/17/2009 5:05:40 AM
need anything from an un-paved, hard, stretch of dirt, to a concrete runway
 
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Volkodav       10/17/2009 5:14:07 AM
Something along the lines of Tactical and STOL to the Army, Maritime to the RAN and Strategic and non joint Tactical to the RAAF. Each service controlling and operating the gear most vital to conducting their missions.
 
The Caribou was used almost exclusively for Army support and some of the KingAirs the RAAF is using as an interim replacement are Army machines. It makes sense the Bou's replacement should be Army owned and operated.
 
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Aussiegunneragain       10/17/2009 5:42:46 AM
I frankly don't see the point in this idea at all. Irrespective of the service that they serve in we are going to have the same number of aircraft with the same number of pilots so a division would be a complete WOFTAM.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
 
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DropBear       10/17/2009 5:51:35 AM
The RAAF currently operates a variety of types that are a compromise to meet, in part, the requirements of the other services.
 
Where is this happenig within transport, strategic, tactical, inter-theatre or otherwise???
 
Army and Navy operate helos for medium airlift and seem happy to hitch rides on Boos, Hercs and C-17 for their other needs. Couldn't see those services operating and providing a better system than what the RAAF currently provides. Besides, easier to stream all major fixed wing aircrews through the one  course and there are financial savings having the system not split three ways.
 
Curious.
 
 
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