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Tax-payer funded think-tank Defence advice... still bad

Tags: #air
Taxpayer funded ASPI does it again: a shocking lack of appreciation (PDF file) for the problems with the extreme-risk F-35 program...and other things.

In addition, all F-35 variants are able to carry weapons and external fuel under their wings, although this adds drag and reduces stealth. Nevertheless, the F-35B couldn’t carry the modern Norwegian Joint Strike Missile—which could become the standard missile for the F-35A and F-35C variants—because of size and mass considerations.

ASPI and friends don't know what they don't know about the problems with the F-35 program.

Where to start?

There are NO drop tanks for the F-35. That was erased in a 2006 US DOD contract because of too much risk. The original goal for a finished system design and development F-35 (SDD), the current phase of the program we are in since...2001, is that all variants would have the ability to carry drop tanks. The original assumption was that they would use legacy F-18 drop tanks. Not long after LM won the JSF contract, stores separation studies showed this tank design to have risks bouncing into other munition configurations when being punched off the jet. Then the program people decided to come up with a different drop tank idea: three new, elongated candidates. Studies with that when punched off the jet showed center-of-gravity issues. You know...longer object, more of a lever. At punch off they predicted the new tank design would pitch up and clear the leading edge of the wing by an unsafe margin. That 2006 DOD contract eliminated the clearance of the wind-corrected-munitions-dispenser, drop tanks, and added the small-diameter bomb (SDB) as a USAF requirement by the end of the SDD phase.

Not long after this you saw two interesting things in Lockheed Martin marketing. Briefings to Norway showing range with drop tanks. A briefing not long after showing that the F-35 was so advanced compared to "legacy" that it didn't need drop tanks.

There are several survivability problems around not only the LHD (which will be unable to field an F-35B properly) but also all variants of the F-35 (also a huge RAAF problem).

The LHD will in part depend on the RAAF and the troubled Air Warfare Destroyer (a bad designation if ever there was one) for protection. The Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) will be fielded with obsolete air-defense solutions. Also the threats out there include sea-skimming super-sonic anti-ship missiles: BrahMos and Yachonet (export version of Oniks), the later already fielded in this region. This means the time to defend against such missiles when they appear over the horizon will be short.

And maybe we will even see these appear in the region some day?

The F-35? All variants-even if they work to design specification--are likely to get shot down if they face emerging threats in the Pacific-Rim.

The F-35 is a poor candidate for close air support (CAS). It in no way, has proven that it is superior to the latest USMC Harrier configuration. The Harrier has a much lower cost-per-flying hour; better visibility from the cockpit; a working gun; better electro-optical pod field of view (for lasing, laser-spotting and imaging than the on-board F-35 EOTS) and may even be able to kick out more missions per day. The current F-35 situation is troubled in its development and to-date, 13 years after LM winning the JSF contract, is nowhere near showing a working product.

There is your research.

There is your analysis.

For free.

You're welcome.

How do we improve this problem of faulty, tax-payer funded Defence analysis?

Hire real, subject-matter experts.

For years, APA has supplied sage, well thought-out, private and public advice to our elected officials and other government offices in regard to Defence issues.

They have supplied numerous, public papers on Defence issues.

Many of their predictions have come to pass as being true.

That is not an "I-told-you-so".

It is a warning that this Australian-made organisation is available to provide proper advice to government, if allowed to do so.

It would be easy, cheap, money, well-spent, to have the Audit Office or similar to hire them on a permanent basis.

Or, let us continue to get bad, tax-payer funded advice and continue on path that will leave our defence-posture to ever worsen.