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F-22A Raptor: the f*** off factor

with 165 comments

Every now and again an issue bubbles along just under the radar of public debate. Sometimes it pops its head up for air, generating the occasional MSM opinion piece, but most of the time argument is confined to aficionados battling it out in the trade press.

Such an issue is the debate over the future shape, acquisitions and direction of Australia’s Air Force. Most Catallaxy readers would know that in 2002 Defence committed the RAAF to the F-35, better known as the Joint Strike Fighter, or JSF, recently named the Lightning II. Most readers would probably also know that the JSF is still in development, and that the closest any Australian has come to flying it is taking the JSF simulator for a spin in March last year. Defence Force Chief, Air Marshall Angus Houston, has penned paeans to the JSF, to the point where he’s staked his reputation on it. The JSF will be stealthy, the JSF will have capabilities far beyond any comparable aircraft. Most of all, the JSF will be a suitable replacement for the F-111, affectionately known in Air Force circles as ‘the Pig’.

What many readers won’t know is that a fierce argument over the JSF’s suitability for Australia’s long-term air power needs has been boiling away in the pages of the Australian Financial Review, Defence Today, and previously Australian Aviation and Heads Up Magazines. Defence has its keen supporters, but a growing chorus of critics – many of them distinguished strategists, test pilots and retired Air Force personnel – argue that Defence has made a dud choice, and that the time to back out is now, before Australia’s commitment to the JSF becomes irrevocable.

Strategist Dr Carlo Kopp, former flight test engineer Peter Goon, retired Air Cdre E J Bushell AM, retired test pilots Group Captains R G Green and M J Cottee, and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute are among Defence’s critics. They point out that the JSF is a short range aircraft, and in certain respects is actually more limited than the ‘Pig’, one of the two aircraft it is purporting to replace. Dr Dennis Jensen, a physicist and former analyist with DSTO who is now a coalition MP isn’t buying Defence’s line either.

[It’s] a good aircraft but not the right one for our region. Our geography means we need long-range capability and [the F-35] doesn’t give it to us.

Jensen and Kopp also point out that since 1991, China has engaged in the largest sustained arms buying spree since the Soviet surge of the late 1970s and 1980s, buying out what amounts to the crown jewels of the Russian technology base. At the top of China’s focus has been the aim to build up a fleet of long range air superiority fighters second only to the US Air Force fleet of F-15C/E. India has gone down a similar path, and in the 2001 Cope India exercise flown between the latest US Air Force F-15C variant and Indian Su-30s, the Indians, as predicted, matched or outperformed the American F-15Cs. The F-15 is larger, more powerful and more agile than the F/A-18 or the JSF.

For many years, the F-111 provided what Kopp and Goon refer to rather inelegantly as the ‘f*** off factor’. It could fly further, faster and with a bigger payload. It was almost infinitely upgradeable. Kopp and Goon also argue that the F-111 need not be written off so hastily, and have come up with a range of detailed, cost effective ways to keep it in the air.

Their core recommendation, however, is for Australia to purchase the F-111’s successor, the F-22A Raptor. As much as he doesn’t like to give ground, even then Air Marshal Houston conceded that the F-22

Will be the most outstanding fighter aircraft ever built … Every fighter pilot in the Air Force would dearly love to fly it.

f22a-sea.gif

The F-22A in action

This amazing plane has supersonic cruise, allowing it to fly at up to 50,000 feet at prolonged and extraordinary speed, placing it out of reach of surface-to-air missiles, untouchable in air-to-air combat and able to release satellite-guided “smart” bombs and missiles at undetectable range. Its stealth – ability to evade radar detection – is unparalleled and will not be matched by the JSF. To top it off, the F-22 is already in service. As more are built its unit cost is coming down, while the JSF is facing a budget blowout and Congressional criticism for its radical design, deemed ‘dangerously unproven’.

The debate has inspired a parliamentary inquiry – the Inquiry into Australian Defence Force Regional Air Superiority, in which defence critics were prominent. Kopp and Goon have founded the Air Power Australia think tank, a central locus for detailed air warfare research material. MP Dennis Jensen has been working to catch Dr Nelson’s ear since his tenure as Defence Minister commenced. Kopp – an engineer, computer scientist and Monash Asia Institute Fellow as well as a former stunt pilot – seems to write much of the Australian Financial Review’s Defence Specials these days.

The issue is a large one. John Howard has positioned Australia regionally as a somewhat bellicose player, but our capability in the crucial area of air power is slipping. Even libertarians concede that defence is one thing the state has to get right.

What gives?

UPDATE: Air Vice Marshal Peter Criss, ret has added his thoughts on this topic in the latest Defence Industry Daily.

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Written by Admin

October 31, 2006 at 7:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

165 Responses

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  1. Hmm. Well, all defence dabblers have their favourite bits of hardware. Remember that the purchase of the F-111 fleet was itself hugely controversial. The Collins class subs have as many supporters as detractors. While I don’t dispute the potential for Defence to have got this wrong, given their record, this is a really hard one for non-experts. The F-22A sounds really sexy, but Defence has to determine if our strategic needs over the life of the aircraft are best met by such an aircraft with such capabilities given the anticipated threat environment. Who are we likely to be up against and what are their capabilities, are the questions the serving experts have to ask, and fit the hardware to meet the anticipated need.

    Rob

    October 31, 2006 at 7:27 pm

  2. Have any of these issues been raised with officials?

    are there any answers offered?

    Are you sure our version will only be a short range capability?

    Maybe that’s all we need as we come under the US nuke umbrella so we may not require long range . There is also the need to graft easily to Us defense capabilities in the foreseeable future.

    Jsut questions.

    The 22 does look neat though. It really has the F…. Factor.

    jc

    October 31, 2006 at 7:31 pm

  3. That’s exactly right, jc. Defence strategists have to think about what we will be asked to do, whether we have the operational lead, whether we will operate in coalition under US command. Like, are we ever likely to engage the PRC air force on our own, and need aircraft capable of matching them? Not very likely, I’d say.

    And there’s a big debate about what an Australian Air Force should really be configured for. For aerial combat, or surveillance and intelligence collection? It’s been mooted in the past that we should be investing in AWACS platforms at the expense of combat aircraft.

    Big issues, and big debates. I hate to say it, but this is one best left to government.

    Rob

    October 31, 2006 at 7:37 pm

  4. If the joint strike fighter is a short-range fighter….. is it SUPERIOR over that short range?

    GMB

    October 31, 2006 at 7:42 pm

  5. Though we have to operate as part of a team that is not necessarily what we ought to prepare for.

    Its possible to prepare to act alone yet still have enough to be able to act with the team.

    Because when we act with the team our own survival isn’t threatened. But when we act alone it could be.

    So we build things up as if we are alone in a cold war with the Chi-Coms.

    And then we are still likely to have what it takes to hold up our end of the alliance.

    GMB

    October 31, 2006 at 7:46 pm

  6. “First, we need to buy the 400 F-22 fighters the service says it must have to assure future air dominance, because without command of the air, you can’t do much else in modern warfare.

    If we have to give up 600 of the less capable Joint Strike Fighters the Air Force is planning to buy to get enough F-22’s, then that’s what we should do. ”

    So sayeth Loren Thompson of the Lexington institute.

    This makes me think that Skeptic is right. If we are jointly developing this other thing it seems a bit churlish to pull out of the deal when things go a little wrong.

    But here we see we might be doing our friends a favour. Because it might push the Americans to drop the second-best option and invest more in the Raptor.

    And the more Raptors we buy the cheaper it is per-unit for the Americans.

    Sometimes these things can amount to an investment in top-guy-ego. I’m sure it can break your heart and hurt whole constituencies when a weapons system is trashed.

    But if the Raptors what we need to be able to eyeball the mainlanders then we ought to push our ally in that direction.

    GMB

    October 31, 2006 at 8:03 pm

  7. That’s my view, GMB. Australia is going to be in a tight spot between allies and major trading partners over Taiwan. It pays to be prickly enough so we can steer our own course. Ye ol ‘air-sea gap’ ain’t gonna save us forever.

    skepticlawyer

    October 31, 2006 at 8:07 pm

  8. Excellent post, SL. I wrote something on this briefly in July. Rob is right – the F111 (we all love it) was very controversial. Labor, with the limitless vision that only Opposition allows, has also criticised the JSF and says the F-22 is the way to go for Australia. The US Congress, however, doesn’t seem to be open to the idea of selling it to foreigners – not even allies. This reticence has, I think, been confirmed again (that link via Wiki). If they can’t even be purchased, what’s the debate about? Anyone know any more on this?

    C.L.

    October 31, 2006 at 8:28 pm

  9. With any sort of luck either Dr Jensen or Dr Kopp will be stopping by to answer your questions CL!

    skepticlawyer

    October 31, 2006 at 8:30 pm

  10. We have to be realistic. Australia is not a major military power and it’s never going to be able to go toe-to-toe with the Chinese – which is. The Defence dollar has to be spent where it does the most good, and it’s not on raw air power or some dream of regional air superiority. Australia has to rely on its strategic alliances — mainly with the US — to achieve force projection in support of our national interests and security beyond our immediate region. That is our major strategic strength, and one well recognised by our neighbours and potential adversaries. The major issue we will have with Taiwan is that if the US weighs in on Taiwan’s side in a military blowup in the Taiwan Straits, then Australia for maybe the first time will not deploy against the PRC alongside the US, as it is not in its strategic interests to do so.

    Military aficionados always get intoxicated by sexy hardware and always want the best, fastest and strongest. But that is not necessarily what Australia actually needs to support its strategic objectives.

    Rob

    October 31, 2006 at 8:30 pm

  11. “First, the F/A-22 Raptor fighter, which despite all its bad press is indispensable to preserving global air dominance.

    People who aren’t pilots sometimes assert that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter would be just as good, but I can’t find anyone in the Air Force who feels that way.

    In fact, in behind the scenes discussions last year, the Air Force offered to give up 600 Joint Strike Fighters just to get 200 more Raptors.

    I think that’s a deal that policymakers ought to take, because despite its stealth and information technologies, the JSF simply can’t match Raptor in speed and maneuverability — things likely to matter when you’re trying to outrun next-generation SAM’s.”

    More from Loren Thompson.

    http://lexingtoninstitute.org/701.shtml

    It looks to me like its just the holding on tight you get when billions have already been spent.

    Even if the other guy knows that he can beat you in a war of attrition being able to convince him he’ll be utterly humiliated in the initial engagements can be useful for ones safety.

    And Chinas not insurmountable if Taiwan is free and confident. She has to worry about both Taiwan and Japan and in a long drawn-out scrap everyone who is afraid of a big power then starts aiding its enemies when they are temporarily unafraid.

    So we can make a few moves and hold our head up.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    We always expect that our top guys know what they are doing.

    But people are only human and that much money already having been spent means that folks likely can’t let go.

    This is where we need your help Skeptic. Put your arm around these tearful airforce guys who wanted the JSF and tell them “It will be alright. Time heals everything”

    So thats what we need to find out. Is it the agonising sunk cost that is getting between us and Gods wil?

    Is it the money already spent that is getting between us and our rightful Raptors?

    It need be no hard feelings and stuff. But they’ve just got to let it go. Just let it go.

    A few rides on the Raptor and how quickly they’ll forget.

    GMB

    October 31, 2006 at 8:30 pm

  12. “We have to be realistic. Australia is not a major military power and it’s never going to be able to go toe-to-toe with the Chinese – which is.”

    The aren’t that tough yet.

    And we don’t need to defend ourselves against weak people. Or at least thats no big problem. And with the overkill we gain from deterring China we have the capacity to deal with anything that comes along.

    GMB

    October 31, 2006 at 8:35 pm

  13. Come on, GMB, under no conceivable strategic scenario would Australia ever go to war with China on its own. To budget and equip against that contingency would be insane.

    Rob

    October 31, 2006 at 8:42 pm

  14. Responding to 1. Rob | October 31st, 2006 at 7:27 pm

    Unfortunately Defence never performed the required analysis of regional capabilities, projected regional capabilities, and what RAAF force structure would be required to deal with these capabilities.

    APA did this work in 2001 as part of the due diligence on our proposal for acquiring the F-22A. This was based on some of my earlier work which went in as a ministerial submission in 1998.

    Refer http://www.ausairpower.net/nf-98-print.pdf

    In hindsight, my projection in 1998 underestimated just how many advanced Sukhoi fighters and smart weapons would appear in the region.

    The decision to go for the JSF was the product of internal bureaucratic politics in Defence, with most of the key players having since jumped ship. All saw the JSF as an opportunity to advance themselves in the bureaucracy.

    The AIR 6000 project which was in the early phases of a rigorous analysis of needs and alternatives got chopped off at the knees. The F-22A/F-111 option advocated by APA was one of the options under analysis, and was to have been shortlisted.

    Former Minister Hill, rather than performing his governance function and holding the bureaucracy back, jumped on the bandwagon and became one of the loudest JSF advocates.

    All of the problems we see today with the JSF and its unsuitability for the region were identified in 1998 and today we are simply seeing identified risks and limitations materialising.

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 8:44 pm

  15. It’s not just the Chinese and the Indians, Rob. The Indonesians have been buying Sukhois as well.

    skepticlawyer

    October 31, 2006 at 8:46 pm

  16. jc | October 31st, 2006 at 7:31 pm

    > Have any of these issues been raised with officials?

    Many times. The answers are usually full of factual errors and condescending in tone and posture.

    > are there any answers offered?

    The answer is always ‘We [Defence] are right and APA et al are wrong’

    No attempt is ever made to provide evidence or reasoning to support the Defence position.

    > Are you sure our version will only be a short range capability?

    The JSF carries half the weapon payload of an F-111 to half the distance. In effect you require two JSFs and one aerial refuelling tanker to do the job of a single F-111.

    > Maybe that’s all we need as we come under the US nuke umbrella so we may not require long range . There is also the need to graft easily to Us defense capabilities in the foreseeable future.

    One thing the last 50 years has taught us is that the contingencies which arise are seldom the contigencies anticipated. Prudent military planners go for flexibility. The F-22 is flexible, it can do many jobs superlatively, the JSF is not, it is built to chase enemy tanks on the battlefield, and underperforms in more demanding roles.

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 8:50 pm

  17. “Come on, GMB, under no conceivable strategic scenario would Australia ever go to war with China on its own. To budget and equip against that contingency would be insane.”

    Conceptually you’ve got it totally wrong.

    We aren’t trying to take over countries are we?

    I mean we have an whole continent to ourselves.

    So we don’t need to worry about people we can beat up.

    Its BECAUSE we can’t beat up China that we have to worry about them. And not the other guys.

    So we prepare as best we can.

    You see conceptually you’ve got things totally the wrong way around.

    GMB

    October 31, 2006 at 8:52 pm

  18. Fair enough on the primacy of alliances, Rob. But this admittedly inexpert civilian – aka “me” – likes the idea that a low population, first-world nation like Australia should invest big-time in air power. Should it come to a Taiwan meltdown, I wouldn’t casually assume that Canberra will give Washington the cold-shoulder for Beijing. Depending on the situation, it might be reckless to promote that as military doctrine. Shouldn’t we therefore strive to be a big regional contributor to any likely Pacific melodrama? Shouldn’t we avoid the Kiwi Option – that is, opting out of military responsibilities and banking on the Yanks?

    APA-Carlo:

    What’s the situation with the US Congress and the availability of the Raptor for purchase?

    C.L.

    October 31, 2006 at 8:53 pm

  19. Welcome back, Rob, btw. 😉

    C.L.

    October 31, 2006 at 8:54 pm

  20. Carlo:

    Why the need to project far though, when you can achieve the desired result with air bridges as the Americans proved?
    Maybe mid air refueling takes care of long distance projection while the benefits of short range fire power outweighs the disadvantages that can be solved with an air bridge.

    Long range just becomes short range with airbridge capabilities. Let’s face it, we’re not going to attack china unless we have big brother on side. In this situation we just incoporate ourselves in their AWAC system.

    Am I on the right track here?

    jc

    October 31, 2006 at 8:54 pm

  21. We need to be ABLE to attack someone who is stronger then us to be able to stop them from thinking too much about attacking us.

    You can’t deter agression by defense alone.

    Thats almost an iron law. We want missile defense and to be unbeatable on our turf.

    But you single to the big boys that you can’t hit them where they live and they’ll be outside your walls burning all your olives every summer.

    GMB

    October 31, 2006 at 8:58 pm

  22. Bird, that’s the reason the F111 was purchased originally, right – to reach Jakarta?

    C.L.

    October 31, 2006 at 9:01 pm

  23. To even so much as have the resolve necessary to deal with threats we need to feel secure against our greatest threat.

    We need to be able to act with real resolve and not have our negotiators go weak at the knees.

    When we do joint work with America we don’t fear for our own territory.

    So thats not where our conceptual focus ought to be.

    If we cannot deal with China we cannot stop our guys from appeasing her.

    She’s got more borders then anyone else in this world. We don’t need to be afraid.

    She has many adversaries to worry about. We worry about her. We don’t need to worry about anyone else since we’ll have surplus capacity to deal with anyone else.

    GMB

    October 31, 2006 at 9:03 pm

  24. Been a while since I was really into this kind of stuff so all the hard-core experts shoudl feel free to jump in…

    but…

    being a little controversial here, could we realistically have considered a Sukhoi or MiG ourselves? If the JSF is going to be outragouesly priced and totally unproven.. and the Raptor perhaps not available for purchase… could we get “bang-for-buck” from something pour of the Russian factories.

    Going against this of course is going to be compatability when it comes to working with the US… and of course the politics of buying off a former enemy rathe than our Big brothers in the US of A.

    …just being a little provactive…

    HeathG

    October 31, 2006 at 9:05 pm

  25. 3. Rob | October 31st, 2006 at 7:37 pm

    > That’s exactly right, jc. Defence strategists have to think about what we will be asked to do, whether we have the operational lead, whether we will operate in coalition under US command. Like, are we ever likely to engage the PRC air force on our own, and need aircraft capable of matching them? Not very likely, I’d say.

    > And there’s a big debate about what an Australian Air Force should really be configured for. For aerial combat, or surveillance and intelligence collection? It’s been mooted in the past that we should be investing in AWACS platforms at the expense of combat aircraft.

    Big issues, and big debates. I hate to say it, but this is one best left to government.

    Good points – observations:

    A.With JSF Australia will always be dependent on the US Air Force to provide a protective umbrella of F-22s in any contigency other than the trivial. This is the great weakness of the JSF, as it was designed to supplement the F-22 in US service. It is not a fighter as most people understand it, but rather a small bomber, akin to the Vietnam era F-105D and A-7D strike fighters. If Australia wants to lead an operation or operate independently, then it needs a fighter capable of dominating the battlespace. The only fighter in the market like this is the F-22, which both Japan and Israel have lobbied for.

    B.The future force structure? There are two schools of thought. One is to have a mix of assets capable of covering a wide range of contigencies, eg F-22, upgraded F-111, more AWACS, tanker/transports etc. This is the APA position. Then there is the Defence position which is designed to justify the JSF. It envisages a very narrow range of contigencies and pretends other contigencies will never arise.

    C.’I hate to say it, but this is one best left to government. ‘ True, but only if the government’s machinery of state is functional. Unfortunately the Defence bureaucracy is dysfunctional and has lost the capability to analytically understand and solve such problems.

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 9:07 pm

  26. I say we forget about the aircraft and the fuckin’ US Alliance and instead develop a nuclear arsenal.

    We could test the nukes at Maralinga and use fuck-knuckles like Graeme Bird and Joe Cambria as test dummies.

    I call this the Cactus Green Defence Strategy.

    melaleuca

    October 31, 2006 at 9:07 pm

  27. “Bird, that’s the reason the F111 was purchased originally, right – to reach Jakarta?”

    They may have been thinking more generally.

    This is going to be a tougher world this century. We won’t necessarily have America to go all over the world and bleed everywhere.

    If we can hold our head up against China and have a policy of punishing terrorist regimes before we find out the specifics of a terrorist attack you might find these Bali attacks are a yesterday thing also.

    If we’ve got the latest gear the Americans have to back us up just to stop others from getting hold of her technology.

    GMB

    October 31, 2006 at 9:07 pm

  28. You’re not being very ethical there Munn.

    We need full spectrum capacities in any case.

    GMB

    October 31, 2006 at 9:08 pm

  29. Steve, I’ll start sooning 😉 I know you can write great stuff if you feel like it.

    skepticlawyer

    October 31, 2006 at 9:09 pm

  30. 4. GMB | October 31st, 2006 at 7:42 pm

    ‘If the joint strike fighter is a short-range fighter….. is it SUPERIOR over that short range?’

    Unfortunately not. The JSF is inferior to the F-22 in all cardinal parameters, and inferior to the F-111 in all aerodynamic parameters.

    More detail in http://www.ausairpower.net/0830-ASPI-Rebuttal-HR.pdf

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 9:09 pm

  31. Suppose you are commander-in-chief Heath.

    You going to send our boys up in the air in a flying-fucking outhouse.

    We want them to beat all comers, hit their targets and get home safely.

    A government is there to keep its people safe. Including the pilots.

    And we need to be able to act with some daring. If we get to where we are too scared to act then we have failed.

    We have to have the best. Or we are letting our boys down.

    GMB

    October 31, 2006 at 9:12 pm

  32. I hate to sound boring but what is the point of a JSF vs. Raptor debate if the Raptor isn’t for sale?

    C.L.

    October 31, 2006 at 9:12 pm

  33. Well that tears it Carlo.

    Is there anything we can do to assist you in your efforts?

    GMB

    October 31, 2006 at 9:13 pm

  34. ‘Flying fucking outhouse’

    Another great coinage Graeme. Can I borrow it?

    skepticlawyer

    October 31, 2006 at 9:14 pm

  35. 5. GMB | October 31st, 2006 at 7:46 pm

    ‘Its possible to prepare to act alone yet still have enough to be able to act with the team.

    Because when we act with the team our own survival isn’t threatened. But when we act alone it could be.

    So we build things up as if we are alone in a cold war with the Chi-Coms.

    And then we are still likely to have what it takes to hold up our end of the alliance. ‘

    Agreed 100%. The direction Defence are taking us in make us a liability to the US in any regional contigency, and make us a target for coercion by the PRC or anybody else who might develop such an inclination at a future date.

    Unless Australia can indepedently hold its ground – and deter bullying by regional nations – Australia will invite bullying.

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 9:14 pm

  36. GMB (32),

    As per previous post.. playing devils advocate here.

    If we save a bucket of money by purchasing a capable but more cost effective aircraft, we could potentially buy more aircraft, or spend it on some other form of complementary asset.

    HeathG

    October 31, 2006 at 9:15 pm

  37. Fsssscht, let me just get past the disdain I feel for libertarians who get all horny about billion-dollar flying gun platforms but morally object to PBS which might lengthen poor people’s lives. Ahem.
    Air power is vastly overrated in modern war planning, especially when a very large rather rich country can, as Australia can, trade space and time for the chance to knock out opposing forces, or more efficiently, just buy them off. Let me introduce you to the reasons “air superiority” doesn’t necessarily involve buying shit from overpaid US contractors:

    Right now, the technology is tilting toward the defense. Every year, shoulder-fired guided missiles get better and cheaper. And every year, fighter jets get more insanely expensive. What that really means is, the line between guided missile and manned aircraft is getting blurry except in one area: cost.

    Stuff the F-22 and the JSF. If you all want to buy expensive explosive stuff, buy unpiloted aircraft (UAVs), clever mobile radars and a whole lot of cheap missiles.

    Liam

    October 31, 2006 at 9:15 pm

  38. “I hate to sound boring but what is the point of a JSF vs. Raptor debate if the Raptor isn’t for sale?”

    That sounds like some bureaucrats dispute.

    Look at Howard. The man bestrides the diplomatic world like a collosus.

    If we are willing to buy enough of these cash-strapped America will help us out.

    Howards big with the Americans. He is the MAN-OF-STEAL.

    He will get us our Raptors.

    For it is surely Gods will that he does.

    GMB

    October 31, 2006 at 9:16 pm

  39. Liam.

    You are an idiot.

    You have no idea.

    GMB

    October 31, 2006 at 9:17 pm

  40. Good summary skeptic lawyer. I had a letter on this subject published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 19 Nov 2004 (Air Defence is a Priority).

    The foundation of Australian defence is control of the air, and that’s what the JSF decision sacrifices. As Kopp points out so thoroughly. It’s always annoyed me that Howard didn’t seem to understand this in the East Timor conflict.

    I think the RAAF decided to support the JSF because JSF squadrons are more likely to see active service alongside US forces, which is a big plus for career pilots.

    The US reserves crucial air control roles for its own squadrons, so would be unlikely to use any Australian F-22 squadrons. On the other hand it’s happy to give battlefield strike missions to Allied forces, and those are the type of roles the US would allocate to JSF squadrons.

    The whole scenario presumes Australia will rely on US fighters in the event of serious threats in our region.

    The RAAF argues that networking with AWACS will overcome the relative deficiencies of the JSF in conflict, but that seems a weak argument. The other side will probably be networked too.

    Re Cope India, the significance of that is open to discussion. As I understand it, the American F-15s were restricted to using their own radars, whereas the Indian forces used AWACs.

    Tony Healy

    October 31, 2006 at 9:20 pm

  41. But Heath we have precedent for this.

    A couple of the old stealth fighters do the work of twenty heritage fighters.

    And conceptually we are not going up against Afghanistan. Because we don’t fear third-world powers and we have no territorial designs on them.

    So our guys have to be able to win and not get killed and maintain air superiority and hit what they aim at.

    No chance. The new stuff can get more done when matters get serious. And we do not need to defend ourselves against weak foreign forces. Only strong foreign forces.

    GMB

    October 31, 2006 at 9:20 pm

  42. Whilst we’re debating expensive military hardware purchases…how do people feel about the M1 purchase?

    No doubt the M1 is a beast of a tank… but it’s an incredible gas guzzler. Do we really want to be trying to operate such a fuel hog?

    HeathG

    October 31, 2006 at 9:20 pm

  43. munn behave your self please. enough clowning for the day.

    CL

    We could buy anything we want from the US at the moment is my guess. they have argued for integration so they shouldn’t have a problem if we chose something else. Don’t you think?

    Can we break the contract if there is oone, CL? My guess would be that the public servants types would be very reluctant to admit a mistake.

    Carlo.

    What’s the price differnetial?

    jc

    October 31, 2006 at 9:20 pm

  44. Kim Beazley supports acquiring the F-22, Liam. And I think even most righties agree that the Beazer knew his way round the defence portfolio.

    skepticlawyer

    October 31, 2006 at 9:21 pm

  45. C.L. | October 31st, 2006 at 8:28 pm

    ‘Excellent post, SL. I wrote something on this briefly in July. Rob is right – the F111 (we all love it) was very controversial. Labor, with the limitless vision that only Opposition allows, has also criticised the JSF and says the F-22 is the way to go for Australia. The US Congress, however, doesn’t seem to be open to the idea of selling it to foreigners – not even allies. This reticence has, I think, been confirmed again (that link via Wiki). If they can’t even be purchased, what’s the debate about? Anyone know any more on this? ‘

    The US position on the export of the F-22 is more complex than the media would have us believe.

    In 2000 the US Air Force commissioned a study on the export of the F-22: https://research.maxwell.af.mil/papers/ay2000/saas/molloy.pdf

    The study concluded that only Australia, Britain and Canada could be trusted to have the F-22.

    During that period the US Air Force assessed Australia (at considerable cost in research studies) and concluded that an F-22 with full US capabilities could be exported to Australia, with some features locked and available only in time of war.

    The US have a complex system in which export of top end technology like the F-22 hse to be assessed in detail and then recommendations made to the administration and Congress. Then Congress approves the export.

    General export approvals are usually only granted apriori for non critical military technology.

    As Defence have refused to approach the US DoD for a formal assessment, claims that Australia would not get the F-22 are simply the opinion of Defence bureaucrats, or interpretations of comments made by vendor personnel.

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 9:23 pm

  46. Liame
    it’s 10.30. Please go to bed. you have pre-school in the morning.

    jc

    October 31, 2006 at 9:23 pm

  47. Carlo.

    Do you perceive any China-appeasement operating in this matter?

    GMB

    October 31, 2006 at 9:24 pm

  48. AWACs are always a huge help, Tony – something else the APA has pointed out repeatedly. Even so, the quality of the Sukhoi as flown by the Indians in that exercise was still outstanding.

    skepticlawyer

    October 31, 2006 at 9:24 pm

  49. CL, that is exactly right. The ability to reach Jakarta and take out any target there was an important factor in the role of the F-111 and Australian defence. That also meant most Indonesian military bases were vulnerable in the event of any serious attacks on our forces.

    The F-111s and the SAS are deadly. Everyone who needs to, knows that.

    Tony Healy

    October 31, 2006 at 9:24 pm

  50. Thanks Carlo. Interesting.

    C.L.

    October 31, 2006 at 9:27 pm

  51. Kim Beazley loves his guns, but he’s a Cold War warrior.
    Look, you can imagine fighting China or Indonesia all you like, but it’s the piss-ant little non-State actors with whom the ADF is going to be fighting in the forseeable future. Is the F22 much use against an anti-Western insurgency in [name your country in SE Asia]? Hardly. It’d be flying from aircraft carriers we don’t have, dropping million-dollar bombs we don’t own, on shacks built for fractions of the price. The Army, on the other hand has just bought a bunch of Tiger helicopters for close air support of troops—now that makes a bit of sense.
    Regarding the M1A1 tank, it’s complicated. Obviously it’s designed to ‘integrate’ with the US, but it’s also wonderful for destroying stuff that can’t be destroyed by infantry. I don’t think it was a wise purchase, but I can see the arguments in favour.

    Liam

    October 31, 2006 at 9:28 pm

  52. Basically, Defence has to ask the US for the F-22. Because Defence has become so bound up with the JSF, they’ve never asked. This is then construed as though the US hasn’t made it available.

    I didn’t know that Australia was one of the few countries the US would trust with the airframe.

    skepticlawyer

    October 31, 2006 at 9:28 pm

  53. Laime

    Please go to bed. I won’t say it again. Next time its the wooden spoon.

    jc

    October 31, 2006 at 9:30 pm

  54. 10. Rob | October 31st, 2006 at 8:30 pm

    ‘The Defence dollar has to be spent where it does the most good, and it’s not on raw air power or some dream of regional air superiority. Australia has to rely on its strategic alliances — mainly with the US — to achieve force projection in support of our national interests and security beyond our immediate region. That is our major strategic strength, and one well recognised by our neighbours and potential adversaries. The major issue we will have with Taiwan is that if the US weighs in on Taiwan’s side in a military blowup in the Taiwan Straits, then Australia for maybe the first time will not deploy against the PRC alongside the US, as it is not in its strategic interests to do so.

    Military aficionados always get intoxicated by sexy hardware and always want the best, fastest and strongest. But that is not necessarily what Australia actually needs to support its strategic objectives. ‘

    This argument is predictaed on the assumption that the F-22 or F-22/F-111 mix is more expensive than the JSF solution.

    The assumption does not hold. This is for two reasons:

    A.Defence need to buy JSFs early in the production cycle and this makes them similar in unit procurement costs to the F-22. There is plenty of evidence in Congressional reporting to prove this.

    B.Because the JSF is much less capable, more of them need to be used to get the same amount of work done, and many more supporting aerial refuelling tankers are needed.

    Australia can have its cake and eat it too, if we opt for the F-22.

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 9:35 pm

  55. 11. GMB | October 31st, 2006 at 8:30 pm

    ‘Is it the money already spent that is getting between us and our rightful Raptors?

    It need be no hard feelings and stuff. But they’ve just got to let it go. Just let it go.’

    You got it. The principal reason why Defence are clinging to the JSF is face saving, since they lost the public and professional debate completely. The Inquiry submissions show this convincingly.

    The issue is now largely about preserving reputations and not looking stupid in the press.

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 9:39 pm

  56. My understanding, too, is that the JSF is a bit like the 8m bridge Beattie built across the Brisbane River. It finished up at 23m it went so far over budget, and isn’t even much good. At least with the F-22 we have a good idea of how much we’re up for.

    And Liam, I think you’ll find quality airpower is pretty crucial in modern war.

    skepticlawyer

    October 31, 2006 at 9:39 pm

  57. 14. Rob | October 31st, 2006 at 8:42 pm

    ‘Come on, GMB, under no conceivable strategic scenario would Australia ever go to war with China on its own. To budget and equip against that contingency would be insane. ‘

    Actually it is cheaper than you might imagine. Don’t forget that the PLA’s ability to project air power over long distances is limited.

    You simply buy enough to make it too expensive for the PLA to attempt projecting power into our patch.

    This is detailed in http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jfadt/adfair/subs/sub20.pdf

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 9:43 pm

  58. Stealthy airpower? I think not. From what I read from the American experience these days the F-16s, F-18s, A-10s and close-support helicopters do most of the important work, except in imaginary table wars against enemies who’re never actually going to be fighting anythin worthwhile. China’s biggest enemy is poverty and limits on growth, not other countries.
    Wait, did I just say F-18? A plane flown by Australia to great success in almost every recent conflict? Naaaah. Past my bedtime, obviously.
    I do support airpower, incidentally. I’d love to see Australia fielding an airforce of very cool planes without any pilots in them.

    Liam

    October 31, 2006 at 9:46 pm

  59. Well I’m convinced, prima facie. Let’s ditch the F-35 cropduster and go after the beautiful Raptor.

    BUT, there does seem to be a Congressional hurdle – quite aside from DoD and ADF papers and pride. Would a Democrat-controlled Congress be sympathetic?

    And what’s the point of no return with this? When are we so far into the F-35 and so far out of the loop with the F-22, that we get lumbered with the Lightning?

    C.L.

    October 31, 2006 at 9:48 pm

  60. 21. jc | October 31st, 2006 at 8:54 pm

    “Why the need to project far though, when you can achieve the desired result with air bridges as the Americans proved?
    Maybe mid air refueling takes care of long distance projection while the benefits of short range fire power outweighs the disadvantages that can be solved with an air bridge.

    Long range just becomes short range with airbridge capabilities. Let’s face it, we’re not going to attack china unless we have big brother on side. In this situation we just incoporate ourselves in their AWAC system.

    Am I on the right track here? ”

    Not sure I entirely understand your argument here.

    A.Aerial refuelling allows you to project over huge distances. The US clobbered Libya using F-111s and tankers out of the UK, 3,500 nautical miles away. This is the model Australia should be pursuing.

    B.Aerial refuelling also provides persistence for fighter patrols, allowing jets which have an endurance on internal fuel of 3 hours to stay airborne for as long as the pilot can last, or weapons payload lasts (they use piddle bags …).

    C.To achieve the reach and persistence needed, you have to invest in tanker aircraft. Typically one tanker per four fighters.

    The problem is that the Defence bureaucracy does not believe in tankers and has committed investment for about 25% of what Australia actually needs. The cheaper APA proposal for adequate tanking capacity was ignored:

    http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-2005-02.pdf

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 9:51 pm

  61. 25. HeathG | October 31st, 2006 at 9:05 pm

    ‘being a little controversial here, could we realistically have considered a Sukhoi or MiG ourselves? If the JSF is going to be outragouesly priced and totally unproven.. and the Raptor perhaps not available for purchase… could we get “bang-for-buck” from something pour of the Russian factories.’

    Every so many months I get an email from somebody asking this.

    APA FAQ Answer:

    Why wouldn’t Australia acquire Russian Sukhois?

    Would you purchase your most critical weapons system from a nation which is supplying much larger numbers of the same product to your potential opponents? In any regional crisis, there would be a genuine risk that Russia would be forced to make a commercial decision and favour the larger client in the supply of spare parts and materiel, and Australia would be one of the smaller Asia-Pacific buyers of the Sukhoi. Accepting such an implicit conflict of interest is not a sound strategy. Other more pragmatic problems also arise. Operating the same system as an opponent means that you can compete only in pilot skills and numbers, with numbers being more important in long range missile combat. Australia is not in the position to compete in numbers long term against any regional nation. Another problem is compatibility with US datalinks, electronic warfare equipment, and weapons, required for coalition operations. Integrating such equipment with the systems and software in the Sukhois would present genuine difficulties as neither the US or Russia would be happy for each others’ defence contractors to gain intimate access to such key technologies.

    http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-FAQ-2005.html

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 9:54 pm

  62. Laime

    That toy plane you and your daddy fly in the park is a cool machine but not just ready to compete with pilots.. Not just yet. look we’ll wake you up when the techology is ready. Now go to bed, you little shit, before I whack the crap out you.

    jc

    October 31, 2006 at 9:56 pm

  63. Carlo

    comment 61…. that’s great thanks.

    I meant that we could use air bridges with the shorter capbaility plane. But all this was answered.

    As to point C… Really? Are they mad?

    jc

    October 31, 2006 at 9:59 pm

  64. JC, play nice with Liam. He got chased away from the Allende thread by a couple of nasty righties…

    skepticlawyer

    October 31, 2006 at 10:01 pm

  65. Ok SL.

    It’s just that I think he’s too young to be playing in this thread and his parents asked us to take care of him.

    Sorry.

    jc

    October 31, 2006 at 10:02 pm

  66. 34. GMB | October 31st, 2006 at 9:13 pm

    ‘Well that tears it Carlo.

    Is there anything we can do to assist you in your efforts? ‘

    Plenty. Email me at webmaster@ausairpower.net

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 10:02 pm

  67. Thanks for the condescension, skepticlawyer, save it.
    I didn’t want to dignify any more that ceremonial sucking-off of dictators and torturers, but that’s besides the point. Let’s talk fun stuff whot flies.

    JC, so you believe that UAVs are

    not just ready to compete with pilots

    Depends if you’re driving a cheap car with a couple of mates with guns, the military vehicle of choice of Australia’s likely enemies in the next twenty years. The RQ-4A Global Hawk, which Australia is already buying, will spot them nicely, and the RQ-1 Predator will do fine destroying them.

    Liam

    October 31, 2006 at 10:07 pm

  68. Laime

    Please. They are great craft even as good as the one you fly with you dad in the park, but they’re just not as capable as a top of the line fighter craft.

    They also do neat tricks, but they’re just not there….. yet. So give it a little time and they will catch. In 15 years or so maybe when you’re 17 1/2.

    jc

    October 31, 2006 at 10:13 pm

  69. Carlo’s just pushing a barrow.

    I’m with Liam on this. Anyone who thinks that Australia’s security is down to military hardware is seriously wrong. It depends above all on strategic alliances and co-operative agreements with friendly or at the least non-adversarial regional powers. Australia will never even be able to defend its own coastline — it is simply too vast. Indonesia is often — wrongly — touted as our most likely regional adversary. That’s baloney. Our issue with Indonesia will be strategic, not military. We need to make Indonesia our friend and ourselves be a better friend of Indonesia, not least by assuring them that we do not support fragmentation of the Indonesian nation state along the lines proposed by fools like Scott Burchill. Like I said, strategic. Get that right and it won’t matter two hoots who’s got the bigger stuff in their pants.

    Of course we need a competent and combat-ready ADF, but not to take on the Indonesians or the Chinese. We need tactically mobile ground forces to support peace-keeping and intervention operations — and state-preservation operations, a la Solomon Islands and East Timor. In our own region we have to do it on our own – the US expects it of us – so we have to budget for that. In the bigger conflicts we will always be working in coalitions with more powerful partners. It’s poor policy to invest in capabilities for ourselves that we can gain by leveraging our alliances.

    It’s absurd, IMHO, to talk in terms of ‘they’re there so they must be a threat an therefore we must outgun them’. In the hugely unlikely event that Indonesia ever contemplated an armed attack on Australia our best defence is not hardware but the A(NZ)US alliance.

    Rob

    October 31, 2006 at 10:32 pm

  70. Don’t take my word for the effectiveness of cheap missiles and UAVs, Joe: take Hezbollah’s.
    Was it a missile or a drone? There are/were four sailors who don’t care very much.

    Liam

    October 31, 2006 at 10:37 pm

  71. 41. Tony Healy | October 31st, 2006 at 9:20 pm

    “Re Cope India, the significance of that is open to discussion. As I understand it, the American F-15s were restricted to using their own radars, whereas the Indian forces used AWACs.”

    Actually neither side had AWACS, since India’s A-50Is are still being constructed in Israel.

    The Sukhois won since they had longer ranging radars, longer ranging missiles, and they were networked using a Russian TKS-2 system.

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 10:39 pm

  72. 48. GMB | October 31st, 2006 at 9:24 pm

    “Do you perceive any China-appeasement operating in this matter?”

    There is no evidence to prove this. However, China’s growing capability is completely absent in all public strategy documents produced by Defence.

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 10:42 pm

  73. I don’t think Carlo has suggested at any point (and nor have I) that we will one day be taking on the Indonesians or the Chinese. We do, however, need to project power in the region – a very different thing. The F-111 gave us this projection; its successor needs to do the same.

    skepticlawyer

    October 31, 2006 at 10:43 pm

  74. Carlo
    re comment 73

    you think that part about China is simply classified so as not to offend them, or these whackers just idioits?

    jc

    October 31, 2006 at 10:49 pm

  75. 64. jc | October 31st, 2006 at 9:59 pm

    “As to point C… Really? Are they mad? ”

    We in the analytical community often ask this question.

    The problem is that below some threshold level of technical and strategic literacy, the obvious is no longer obvious. The result are decisions and actions which are not rational in a larger frame of reference, although the party acting in that manner might imagine themselves to be perfectly rational.

    How do you then define mad?

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 10:49 pm

  76. Who is the ‘we in the analytical community’ that you’re talking about, Carlo? And do you get paid to make decisions for the government?

    Rob

    October 31, 2006 at 10:57 pm

  77. “You simply buy enough to make it too expensive for the PLA to attempt projecting power into our patch.”

    So we can ‘simply’ outspend the fastest growing economy in the world in arms acquisition? I don’t think so.

    Rob

    October 31, 2006 at 11:03 pm

  78. .Liame

    FFS, If Isreal wished to, they could have razed southern Leb in a few weeks. The trusty daisy cutters would have cleaned it all up so the bitumen could go in the following week, followed by the parking meters.

    The rocket attacks hurt, but we know who won even in a war where the Israelis were forced to limit enemy causalities.

    Stop getting your war stories off the socialist worker. It pays to be widely read, Laime. You nimbus.

    jc

    October 31, 2006 at 11:05 pm

  79. Re Cope India, Carlo, thanks, networking not AWACS. The point was that the American F-15s were artificially restricted compared to the Indian planes, as I understand it. Is that what happened?

    And the context was that this was a political manouver to encourage US Congress to be generous in funding F-22s for the USAF. Do you know anythng about that?

    Tony Healy

    October 31, 2006 at 11:08 pm

  80. It’s not how much you spend Rob, it’s how smart. We have a limited budget, and I think we can get ‘more bang for our buck’ by spending wisely.

    skepticlawyer

    October 31, 2006 at 11:08 pm

  81. No Rob
    We don’t and can’t outspend them.
    What we do is that we make it so costly it is just not worth it.

    jc

    October 31, 2006 at 11:11 pm

  82. 70. Rob | October 31st, 2006 at 10:32 pm

    “Carlo’s just pushing a barrow.”

    Mmmm. Over the last ten years I have been accussed of this every time I get into a debate. I have been accussed of working for Boeing, working for Lockheed-Martin, working for Sukhoi, working for the US Govt, working for Defence, basically anybody who might stand to benefit from the point I have been arguing.

    My agenda has always been national interest first. If you invest the time to do some reading on APA you will find my work dating abck to 1980, and the barrow is always the same one – national interest first.

    If you are concerned about people pushing barrows, look closely at Defence in this very polarised debate. Their agenda has always been to protect their turf and monopoly on strategic policy development in Australia. Damn the consequences.

    “I’m with Liam on this. Anyone who thinks that Australia’s security is down to military hardware is seriously wrong. It depends above all on strategic alliances and co-operative agreements with friendly or at the least non-adversarial regional powers. Australia will never even be able to defend its own coastline — it is simply too vast. Indonesia is often — wrongly — touted as our most likely regional adversary. That’s baloney. Our issue with Indonesia will be strategic, not military. We need to make Indonesia our friend and ourselves be a better friend of Indonesia, not least by assuring them that we do not support fragmentation of the Indonesian nation state along the lines proposed by fools like Scott Burchill. Like I said, strategic. Get that right and it won’t matter two hoots who’s got the bigger stuff in their pants.”

    Hardware is a prerequisite to maintaining a strategic position. Think of it as having the right chess pieces in the right places on the board. Try playing a chess game without bishops, rooks, or a queen.

    Strategy is about denying other nations opportunities to mess with you to their advantage.

    Force structure and hardware determines what games you can and cannot win, and thus what opportunities you are taking away from other players.

    “Of course we need a competent and combat-ready ADF, but not to take on the Indonesians or the Chinese. We need tactically mobile ground forces to support peace-keeping and intervention operations — and state-preservation operations, a la Solomon Islands and East Timor. In our own region we have to do it on our own – the US expects it of us – so we have to budget for that. In the bigger conflicts we will always be working in coalitions with more powerful partners. It’s poor policy to invest in capabilities for ourselves that we can gain by leveraging our alliances.”

    Alliances are great providing that your partners can be relied upon every time, and providing that your partners have the capability to intervene on your behalf.

    The US are in genuine difficulty with strategic overstretch and it is hurting their ability to maintain their strategic position, especially in the Asia-Pacific.

    If we add to their burdens we will cause them pain. That is not a good precondition for a policy of total reliance on an ally, is it?

    “It’s absurd, IMHO, to talk in terms of ‘they’re there so they must be a threat an therefore we must outgun them’. In the hugely unlikely event that Indonesia ever contemplated an armed attack on Australia our best defence is not hardware but the A(NZ)US alliance. ”

    Teddy Rooseveldt had a great saying – ‘speak softly and carry a big stick’.

    The problem with military weakness is that it creates opportunities where none existed previously, and thus alters the behaviour of governments (and non state actors). The trigger for Argentina’s invasion of the Falklands was the announcement that the last UK carrier was being sold to Australia, and that the long range Vulcans would all be retired.

    This was interpreted as weakness and the rest is history.

    Sharp end hardware delivers deterrence, and deterrence prevents conflicts.

    Take the time to read through the APA website, you might find a different perspective on these issues.

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 11:15 pm

  83. Rob, your ‘cadge off everyone else’ policy is veering too far the other way I think. We’re talking about the importance of projecting an offensively defensive level of power to be taken seriously in a rapidly growing, increasingly wealthy and geo-strategically unstable region. Leave aside the hardware debate for a moment and consider the possibility that if we’re seen only as an alliance cameo over the next few decades our national influence in relation to the whole ensemble of economic and political questions will be eroded in all of the regional forums. The Raptor isn’t just a delivery system for munitions; more importantly, it is a weapon for the projection of will, regional focus and national seriousness. That boosts our peace-keeping power; it doesn’t sidetrack it.

    C.L.

    October 31, 2006 at 11:17 pm

  84. And you should stop pinching your acronyms from Fyodor, Joe. For Fuck’s Sakes.

    Now the war in Lebanon is a case in point. Modern wars aren’t about razing areas and massively flattening people, else as you say the IDF would have flattened hundreds of kilometres of coastal country—or better in terms of mega-deaths, turned it into smouldering radioactive Mediterranean glass.
    The likelihood of two conventional armies or air forces facing each other militarily in any of our combined lifetimes is nil, even for planning purposes. The enemies for Australian purposes are going to be non-State actors immune to massive retaliation, airstrikes, and least of all, deterrent spending.

    Liam

    October 31, 2006 at 11:20 pm

  85. If you go the woods today, you sure of a big surprise

    http://www.washtimes.com/national/20061031-120304-2744r.htm

    jc

    October 31, 2006 at 11:21 pm

  86. 75. jc | October 31st, 2006 at 10:49 pm

    “you think that part about China is simply classified so as not to offend them, or these whackers just idioits?”

    Perhaps Defence’s own comments are most illustrative:

    http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jfadt/adfair/subs/sub29.pdf

    Go to page 30 and start there. Comapre their evidence with the facts.

    I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 11:22 pm

  87. 77. Rob | October 31st, 2006 at 10:57 pm

    ‘Who is the ‘we in the analytical community’ that you’re talking about, Carlo? And do you get paid to make decisions for the government?’

    I wish I did get paid what my opponents in this debate get paid. I do funded research for entities other than Defence, yes, and it involves strategy, strategic analysis and strategic technical analysis. I do not disclose my client list.

    78. Rob | October 31st, 2006 at 11:03 pm

    “So we can ’simply’ outspend the fastest growing economy in the world in arms acquisition? I don’t think so. ”

    You spend assymetrically on capabilities which are hard to beat, not symmetrically, otherwise you go broke.

    I have never advocated a symmetrical spending strategy.

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 11:28 pm

  88. Bullshit, Laime of both fronts.

    1. FFS is being used by everyone. As for stealing things, ask your buddy fyodor where he got the term, “big Mary” and started using it without my permission. You idiot.

    2. Yes of course Laime, you’re quite correct, all new conflicts from 22 July 1999 will no longer be big time wars in the traditional sense under UN resolution 2446. From now on they are just going to be relief and policing efforts and we shouldn’t expect anything different. Chechnya is a case in point.

    UN resolution asks that countries no longer defend themselves against wholesale wars we have known in the past.

    You really are a first rate nimbus.

    jc

    October 31, 2006 at 11:30 pm

  89. 80. Tony Healy | October 31st, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    “Re Cope India, Carlo, thanks, networking not AWACS. The point was that the American F-15s were artificially restricted compared to the Indian planes, as I understand it. Is that what happened?”

    That claim was produced by opponents of the F-22 in the US and seeded into the media debate.

    The claim was that by denying the F-15s AWACS they were hobbled. However, not denying them AWACS would have hobbled the Sukhois.

    Ergo if you want to pee on the F-22 it is OK to hobble the Sukhois in the exercise, but not OK to fly the F-15s on a level playing field.

    “And the context was that this was a political manouver to encourage US Congress to be generous in funding F-22s for the USAF. Do you know anythng about that? ”

    As above. The anti-F-22 lobby in the US shares one trait with the JSF / anti-F-22 lobby in Australia – an allergy to the truth.

    APA-Carlo

    October 31, 2006 at 11:33 pm

  90. Chechnya is a case in point, Joe, just not yours. The Russians invaded in 1994, with massive air, logistical and technical superiority, and were thrown out on their arses after two years of butchery and chaos.

    Liam

    October 31, 2006 at 11:34 pm

  91. Liame,
    They levelled the capital. They razed the friggen place… in their own country!!!! I’m not talking about who won and why there, am i?
    Unless I’m istaken you changed the subject and began a rant about the fact that new wars …..

    ” Modern wars aren’t about razing areas and massively flattening people,…”

    Do you remember your mother’s name?

    jc

    October 31, 2006 at 11:39 pm

  92. “The US are in genuine difficulty with strategic overstretch and it is hurting their ability to maintain their strategic position, especially in the Asia-Pacific.”

    Carlo, this is a commonplace as you will be well aware. The mantra of the Pentagon in the 90’s was ‘burden-sharing’ in the wake of the global drawdown of US forces after the end of the Cold War. In practical effect this means that in terms of the overall US-Oz alliance, the US expects us to look after our part of the world. That’s why the US stood off during the East Timor crisis and politely invited Australia to show what it could do. And it did. We must continue to budget against that continuing expectation by the US in order to secure its adherence to our protection under ANZUS.

    But we must not have illusions about it. The US will never expect Australia to sort out the big boys in ‘our’ region, like China, or North Korea, or Thailand, or Cambodia, beyond assisting with US or UN coalitions in limited peace-keeping or anti-terrorist operations as may be required. They do expect us to keep a modicum of order in our immediate neighbourhood, say, East Timor, PNG and the South Pacific — to prevent those states from failing, and help them stay democratic (by diplomatic means, and where those fail, by military intervention as in the Solomons).

    Australia is only a small to medium-sized military power with limited capabilities in the field, as witnessed by our modest commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even the Timor commitment stretched us to the limit. Australia is simply not militarily powerful enough to frighten even Indonesia — and nor will it be without an enormous expansion of the Defence budget that would be simply unsellable in electoral terms, especially as for the foreseeable future the real eneymy will not be conventional air, ground of maritime forces of regional powers but the terrorism of Islamic extremists.

    Of course hardware is important in all this but it has to be acquired carefully and calculatedly against an assessed threat environment, not bought simply because it is the best, brightest, fastest and most deadly.

    Rob

    October 31, 2006 at 11:39 pm

  93. Who had to humiliatingly sign a ceasefire, despite the possession of the larger army and best and most expensive equipment? Boris Yeltsin in 1996, that’s who.
    I don’t know, are you istaken? Could have fooled me.

    Liam

    October 31, 2006 at 11:43 pm

  94. laime

    I know it’s hard, but let us try one more time. that’s because I’m a kind and decent guy.

    Here is your quote again:
    ” Modern wars aren’t about razing areas and massively flattening people,…”

    No matter who won or lost your point was disproved by Chechnya.

    You want to me to quote it again so it sinks in that your stupid theory was disproved in a second? Now go away.

    jc

    October 31, 2006 at 11:52 pm

  95. Australia needs to stick to its comparative advantage in military scenarios. New Zealand has led the way by concentrating on having top-notch light infantry that are very useful in the only kind of engagements they are going to be in for at least decades.

    Australia’s special forces are acknowledged as among the best and our infantry is respectable. Having air power is a must, but we should be modeling it on the army – small, effective, reliable and flexible.

    For any large-scale engagements in which Australia tags along with the US, say in Iran or North Korea, we are only going to be able to put in a token effort, just like we currently are doing in Iraq. These might be necessary to maintain good relations with the US, but should definitely not be the focus of our military strategy. “Boots on the ground” are where the real work happens after the fireworks of air strikes and missiles, and where our limited resources should be targeted.

    fatfingers

    November 1, 2006 at 12:00 am

  96. Those non Gerald Ford types among us believe in the possibility of farting and walking simultaneously, fatfingers. It isn’t a case of Raptors = no special forces. Nor is it a case of Raptors = no drones and missiles. We have built up our special forces anyway and that should be continued. The argument here is about replacing our long-range and utility strike aircraft with a strategically appropriate model. Being a comparatively powerful nation in the region does not – qua Rob – mean our small-scale peacekeeping and support roles will be jettisoned for hypothesised campaigns against the region’s “big boys”. This is another zero-sum straw man. Smaller scale deployments will of course be the everyday focus of our military endeavours, yes – probably. That doesn’t mean there aren’t enormous benefits geo-strategically in an Australia that seeks to be something more serious than the Asia-Pacific’s small-scale mop-up squad.

    C.L.

    November 1, 2006 at 12:14 am

  97. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t enormous benefits geo-strategically in an Australia that seeks to be something more serious than the Asia-Pacific’s small-scale mop-up squad.”

    What do you want us to be, then? Because that is exactly what we are now. What “enormous benefits” do you foresee? And the mopping up is unglamorous but necessary, and someone has to do it.

    It’s not zero-sum, but the resources are limited. The JSF is ridiculously expensive for what is essentially an attempt to be the US’s mini-me. The Raptors sound better to me on a cost basis alone, but the purchase of hundreds of them (or any fighter plane) is stupid.

    fatfingers

    November 1, 2006 at 12:24 am

  98. C.L., it’s not just a matter of cadging off others. As the US’ principal ally in the region we need to maintain compatibility with the US military’s weapons systems, I&W databases and surveillance sensors. If we don’t do that, we can’t exercise with them or do the kind of cross-training that’s essential for our forces and theirs. In other words, we do not continue to reap the benefits of the alliance, which are estimated (last time I looked) at around $2 bn annually.

    “…an Australia that seeks to be something more serious than the Asia-Pacific’s small-scale mop-up squad.”

    In purely military terms, I’m not sure that we should, but I’m happy to be convinced.

    Rob

    November 1, 2006 at 12:24 am

  99. Well, people, it’s time for me to hit the hay – and as it is I probably won’t be too nice to my alarm when it goes off in the morning 😉

    … As you were.

    skepticlawyer

    November 1, 2006 at 12:34 am

  100. Nighty night, skeptic. And to the rest of you blogospherians.

    fatfingers

    November 1, 2006 at 12:44 am

  101. My position is a via media, fatty and Rob. I don’t think “the fuck off factor” is a strategically smart slogan. The objective shouldn’t be to project sabre-rattling intimidation, though there might be deterence scenarios where the Raptor (or, for that matter, a re-recalibrated F111) could conceivably be very useful.

    No, I see big air power as a projection of strategic will, strategic engagement, strategic commitment. That’s what will bolster our soft-power over the long haul and solidify the nation’s presence (and voice) at the big forums of political and economic discourse. Air power, then, is a compliment to the small-scale and policing roles you’re both advocating – not a threat to those roles.

    Military hardware throughout history has always fulfilled this dual practical and strategic/symbolic function. I think that duality compliments Australia’s regional identity very well. We’ve had the ‘engage Asia’ debate, the ‘Europeans or Asians?’ debate and the ‘Deputy Sheriff’ debate. I think a continued commitment to small-scale ops coupled with an overarching hard power resolve is the best way forward for this country. Purchasing either the Raptor or the JSF is not going to have any compatibility consequences – either technical or doctrinal.

    C.L.

    November 1, 2006 at 12:49 am

  102. “But we must not have illusions about it. The US will never expect Australia to sort out the big boys in ‘our’ region, like China, or North Korea, or Thailand, or Cambodia, beyond assisting with US or UN coalitions in limited peace-keeping or anti-terrorist operations as may be required.”

    None of these things is defending Australia.

    Its not the Americans who expect us to be able to defend ourselves alone against China.

    It is US. Our job is to defend ourselves. And not be defense parasites or peace-keeping flunkies.

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 3:53 am

  103. “And the mopping up is unglamorous but necessary, and someone has to do it.”

    These are humanitarian gestures. They aren’t necessary for our defense. Having superior air capacity is.

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 3:56 am

  104. “New Zealand has led the way by concentrating on having top-notch light infantry that are very useful in the only kind of engagements they are going to be in for at least decades.”

    Look people.

    Sort it out. You don’t base your strategy on what you wind up using if deterrence is successful.

    Yes its true if we don’t have to fight China head on our deterrence has been successful.

    The tools necessary for this success are not the tools you necessarily are going to need for various skirmishes and aid inititatives.

    The paradox of piecing up is that if you do it right you don’t have to fight.

    So this talk about buying only what we are going to use is dangerously silly and the opposite of how you ought to be thinking.

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 4:02 am

  105. An armed population has no need of protection by the state. The JSS sounds like yet another defence white elephant in the tradition of the Collins and the Abrams.

    Timothy Can

    November 1, 2006 at 6:54 am

  106. Point taken CL. I was trying to write a witty headline 🙂

    skepticlawyer

    November 1, 2006 at 7:47 am

  107. Pace Carlo, to whom I apologise if I’ve been a bit belligerant (unintentionally), I have some mates in the Defence bureaucracy and what I hear about their Force Development and Acquisition processes is pretty much in line with what he posted above.

    Rob

    November 1, 2006 at 8:04 am

  108. That’s true, Rob. You’d think there would be a better, more accountable way of going about defence purchases, although the parliamentary inquiry sounds like it at least put all the issues on the table.

    skepticlawyer

    November 1, 2006 at 8:14 am

  109. I don’t think “the fuck off factor” is a strategically smart slogan.

    Amen to that, Currency. Especially with China in mind, a country well-equipped with the ultimate fuck off factor.

    Liam

    November 1, 2006 at 10:03 am

  110. Laime

    Good you woke up. Listen I wanted to tell you…. those stupid pills you took yesterday…… They worked. Now stop taking them

    jc

    November 1, 2006 at 10:17 am

  111. CL, you are right in that perceived military power is an important strategic and diplomatic tool. I just don’t think anything short of a truly massive increase in military funding is going to have any real impact on our regional and global standing.

    “Air power, then, is a compliment to the small-scale and policing roles … not a threat to those roles.”

    So spending $15 billion on new planes is not going to affect spending on other facets of our military? And you are producing your own strawman, that I am advocating no air power. On the contrary, it is vital for the defence of Australia. But what kind of air power? The most powerful and expensive machines, or something else?

    GMB: “They aren’t necessary for our defense. Having superior air capacity is.”

    The point being we can’t get ‘superior’ air capacity against any conceivable aggressor.

    fatfingers

    November 1, 2006 at 10:25 am

  112. “Point taken CL. I was trying to write a witty headline”

    What are you talking about skeptic?

    Just how much time have we got left to be able to talk honestly about the Chi-Com threat if we don’t send all these spies home and buy more Raptors then any consensus of hawks would think was necessary?

    If we cannot talk about this now how will it be if they start assasinating indviduals and left-wingers demonising anyone who says it could be the communist party?

    Why do we tolerate all their spies in our country?

    When was the last time an economically competent nation with a billion plus people had the ability to launch nukes at our major centres….. And we have NO COMEBACK WHATSOEVER?

    Well its never happened before?

    We tolerate the spies because we just don’t have a fallback position.

    We’ve got to talk about this openly and we may not have that much time.

    This is very much an unprecedented situation.

    Why do you people think that SHE’LL BE RIGHT when we have no precedent for this?

    If one of you were assasinated today by the Chi-Coms….. Do you think we’d buy the Raptors THEN and send the spies home?

    People the tax-eating appeasing filth would ridicule and harrass anyone who suggested that it was the Chinese.

    They would immediately alibi our greatest threat.

    CL….. Having superior air power is not symbolic. Its far from fucking symbolic. Public figures talk that way because they want to be diplomatic. We are not restricted in the same way.

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 2:39 pm

  113. “The point being we can’t get ’superior’ air capacity against any conceivable aggressor.”

    No you are fucking lying.

    Fatfingers you commie third-rail traitor. Why lie about something like this.

    Skeptic has SHOWN us how to get superior air power over any potential aggressor.

    She just showed you how to do it. And you fucking just lie and say it cannot be done.

    Why do you lie?

    Its the FUCK….. OFF…….FACTOR (perfectly worded the first time by skeptic)

    Because it means we can push back any conceivable air cover far from our shores….

    Meaning before the get to us they have to get past submarines and fight every inch of territory on the ground…

    Perhaps I can improve on what Skeptic said…

    Its the FUCK!!!!!RIGHT!!!!!!OFF!!!!!!FACTOR.

    No thats no improvement. Thats a complement.

    Look supposing we got missile defence. And a new RAPTOR every month. And China still had no foreign bases……….

    How many months would have to go by before you blokes summoned the moxie to SEND THE SPIES HOME.

    They already own you now. And their military power is far more projected then actual.

    An Israeli spy was caught in New Zealand. The New Zealand Prime Minister…. A brave brave women considering the imminent strategic threat that Israel poses to New Zealand…..

    She forced Israel to apologise.

    If I was running things and I evicted these spies and I said FUCKYOU you commie filth… I demand and apology!!!!!!

    I demand an apology or we are recognising Taiwan.

    How you going to react?

    We have no comeback. Some of us are already beginning to act as if we are some sort of Satrapy.

    People did a 25 year, billion dollar a year gas deal with China.

    Why with China?

    Why not with Japan?

    Why not with Japan in return for her spending less on non-defense spending and more in whatever it takes to pin China to the wall?

    The reason is because that tiny bit of fear that all the politicians have coagulated and made us do it and they do it and tell themselves they are the UBER-diplomats.

    On sober analysis ANY country should have jumped at that deal.

    But it went to China because she can hit our cities and we have no comeback.

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 2:57 pm

  114. “I just don’t think anything short of a truly massive increase in military funding is going to have any real impact on our regional and global standing.”

    But only because you are a moron. And in any case. What is wrong with a massive increase in military spending if we can then hold our head up again?

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 3:03 pm

  115. No Bird, I didn’t say air power was wholly symbolic. I said ONE of its benefits was that it advertises and projects our will and seriousness in the region. This, in turn, boosts our traditional small-scale and soft-power roles in the Asia-Pacific – it doesn’t undermine those roles. In other words, big air power has a dual benefit – hard deterrence and regional political strength. The “fuck off factor” is only half the story and overemphasising that half alone is poor salesmanship.

    It’s true that we can talk about the communist threat more frankly than diplomats but my take on this isn’t driven by politeness – it’s what I believe to be a) strategically true; and b) saleable as an idea in the real world of decision making. Some commenters above seem to be arguing that we shouldn’t replace the Pig and the Hornet at all, that we should let long-range air power go the way of the Aussie aircraft carrier. I think that’s totally wrong.

    C.L.

    November 1, 2006 at 3:17 pm

  116. Bird

    Why not become the 51 st state of sorts and be done with it. Tax policy is about the same and we immediately get all the defense we need as part of the overall umbrella. Politically we’d have representation in both houses and have a hand in voing in the prez. In fact have 7 new states added.

    jc

    November 1, 2006 at 3:29 pm

  117. “An armed population has no need of protection by the state. The JSS sounds like yet another defence white elephant in the tradition of the Collins and the Abrams.”

    No thats crap. And armed society is necessary but insufficient.

    The Chi-Coms would bring us to heal VERY quickly if we invited them to our borders as you suggest.

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 3:29 pm

  118. This Timothy fella sounds like an anarcho-capitalist, Bird. That’s probably where he’s coming from.

    Jason Soon

    November 1, 2006 at 3:35 pm

  119. JC

    If we get pieced up with these Raptors you won’t feel that way.

    We can do better on our own then that if we can somehow get serious.

    And its pretty worrying to think that these Americans almost elected John Kerry.

    Can we really rely on these people any more?

    Iran and Syria as well as (at least) elements within Saudi Arabia have been at war with the Americans for a long time now. And they haven’t even launched punitive strikes.

    Also look at the debts? If we go with them we would be inherenting our share.

    We need more and not less competition between governments.

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 3:39 pm

  120. “This Timothy fella sounds like an anarcho-capitalist, Bird. That’s probably where he’s coming from.”

    Yeah he is. But whereas we might listen to Hoppe and imagine the evolution of some sort of privatised defense……
    ….. since such defense isn’t already in place he is basically counselling surrender.

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 3:42 pm

  121. Fair enough, but we’re 20 million and unless we just developed nukes we can”t hide.

    Look the truth is that if commies wanted to take us over all they would have to do is nuke our largest cities and we’d be finished.

    They don’t need the cities as we would be a menace to them having to keep us under control. The only reason they would go after us is for resources and so they could just bypass the nuked cities and take what they want.

    Raptors wouldn’t help us if they were playing this game. I am also uncertain about whether the US would actually risk a war with the commies to protect us. Bush would, but could you trust Kerry or Algore. I’m not so sure. They would probably pretend they gave shit open their border for a few survivors and that would be the end of us under a democrat.

    On the other hand an attack on any of the 7 states would be an attack on sovereign US soil , a far different proposition that no cowardly democrat could ignore. We would also have access to nukes on our territory.

    Look I think with the way the Norks and Iranians are going we will have to think of going nuke ourselves pretty soon. We still don’t know if missile defense is going to work. Moreover its a fair bet that they will elect a dem sometime in the future who we can’t trust.

    jc

    November 1, 2006 at 3:51 pm

  122. “Look the truth is that if commies wanted to take us over all they would have to do is nuke our largest cities and we’d be finished.”

    Right. But they won’t do it now. They are not ready yet.

    But unless we can keep them ringed by confident and armed up people like Taiwan, South Korea and Japan….. then what do we have to stop them from doing just this?

    So we need missile defense and we have to be able to hit back at them. If we can’t avoid nukes in order to do this then nukes it is.

    Raptors will help us at least think straight and hold them off for some time.

    And then we would think about mini-nukes.

    And then the Chinese will have a massive and extended Demographic collapse.

    So its not like we have to hold on for eternity.

    Just till mid-century. Raptors will give us at least another ten years.

    Then mini-nukes would hold us off another while if not the whole way.

    Of course with improving all our other capacities.

    So its not a depressing outlook if we act now.

    Its just depressing because of our internal problem with our own leftists.

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 4:31 pm

  123. Here’s a pretty balanced article on what I heard:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/07/18/wsun18.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/07/18/ixnewstop.html

    Now they say that in the last twenty years the sunspots (and therefore they assume the strength of the sun) has levelled out. And yet the earth has continued to warm.

    But only by about 0.2 degrees.

    Now thats actually astonishingly close to what you would expect from this CO2 according to rule of thumb calculations.

    I’ve heard that with CO2 growing at the rate of .4% per year compounding that would equate to roughly an increase of 0.13 degrees increase per decade.

    All of this just on memory.

    So pull out approximately 0.1 degrees per decades. And most of the rest of the change is likely to be due to the sun.

    You know just as a rough first line-ball calculation.

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 4:50 pm

  124. Bloody Hell.

    Jason could you move the above post over to the other thread?

    Don’t know how I messed that one up.

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 4:51 pm

  125. “No you are fucking lying. Fatfingers you commie third-rail traitor. Why lie about something like this. Skeptic has SHOWN us how to get superior air power over any potential aggressor. She just showed you how to do it. And you fucking just lie and say it cannot be done.”

    No, you silly man. Skeptic has shown that she thinks the JSF is not a good idea, the Raptor could be better. But no matter what planes we have, we are always going to be out-gunned 10 to 1, 100 to 1, by anyone who is in a position to attack Australia. Face facts!

    “But only because you are a moron. And in any case. What is wrong with a massive increase in military spending if we can then hold our head up again?”

    I’m much smarter than you are, Bird. Well, as far as I can tell from your bizarre rants with random capitals, pointless abuse (when is the deserved Sooning going to happen, Skeptic?) and non sequiturs and terrible spelling. If you want an IQ duel any time, I’m ready.

    If you could read properly, you would notice that I don’t say anything about whether it is a good idea or not to massively increase military funding, only that such an increase would be necessary before our big-stick-wielding capabilities get any more than cursory notice from neighbours, allies, and enemies.

    fatfingers

    November 1, 2006 at 5:54 pm

  126. Fats
    just a point of order on your smarts.

    “But no matter what planes we have, we are always going to be out-gunned 10 to 1, 100 to 1, by anyone who is in a position to attack Australia. Face facts!”

    How the hell could anyone other than the US carry out an invasion and out gun us 100:1? They have no supply line????

    You not that smart fats.

    jc

    November 1, 2006 at 6:01 pm

  127. No we are not always going to be outgunned you fucking idiot?

    What the fuck are you talking about?

    You are just lying as I said to before.

    Why would we be outgunned ten to 1?

    Don’t make bullshit like that up.

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 6:24 pm

  128. So we buy one Raptor.

    And as if by magic someones got 10.

    Well yes indeed if that was the automatic consequence of us getting 1 Raptor that 10 of them magically appeared in the hands of the Chinese…. Then it would be a bit pointless now wouldn’t it.

    But its not fucking true.

    Stop lying.

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 6:26 pm

  129. Fatfingers
    skeptic hasn’t got back from work yet as far as I know so don’t be blaming her for not protecting you. As it’s her thread I’m leaving it be unless it gets really bloody.

    Jason Soon

    November 1, 2006 at 6:30 pm

  130. My goodness you are such an idiot fatfingers.

    If we were always going to, by some sort of automatic process, be outgunned ten to 1….

    Then not only would defense spending be always and everywhere pointless. But it would have always been pointless throughout all of history.

    Now if you want to make that case go right ahead.

    But this constant making stuff up is just silly.

    When we got the F-111’s. Did they create a shield around the continent?

    Or were we suddenly as if by magic out-gunned ten to 1. Rendering the investment pointless.

    Well the former.

    There was NO automatic outgunning process going on.

    You are just talking shit.

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 6:33 pm

  131. When SL gets home from bloody work, people.

    GMB back off with the swearing, sorry for not moderating things ff. I sat and supervised this thread last night but I can’t do it all the time (small problem – day job).

    There’s a nice update on this issue from AVM Peter Criss in the above post, which I’ll link here for everyones’ enjoyment.

    skepticlawyer

    November 1, 2006 at 6:40 pm

  132. actually you’re wrong fatfingers…

    no-one except our good old allies the USA could invade australia…no-one not indonesia, not china, or anyone else anywhere…

    none of them can project power in our region. our air force could take out every single boat arriving. short of china nuking the population and moving in to mine our uranium they can’t do anything…

    c8to

    November 1, 2006 at 6:45 pm

  133. “no-one except our good old allies the USA could invade australia…no-one not indonesia, not china, or anyone else anywhere…

    none of them can project power in our region. our air force could take out every single boat arriving.”

    This is kind of my point, c8to. Thus we would be stupid to invest heavily in military hardware we don’t need, right? And Joe agrees with me as well with his well-put point about supply lines. I’m glad you’ve come over to the side of sanity. Welcome, you will enjoy it here.

    GMB, on the other hand, is on another flight of fancy. I suggested no automatic process – I just looked at the Chinese air force (the only ones I thought even remotely possibly a future state enemy of consequence) and then looked at the RAAF and realised that we are already outgunned 10 to 1, and they are in a process of ramping up their capabilities which we cannot hope to match.

    fatfingers

    November 1, 2006 at 7:02 pm

  134. “This is kind of my point, c8to. Thus we would be stupid to invest heavily in military hardware we don’t need, right? ”

    You dishonest communist idiot.

    If it isn’t one thing its another.

    You were just saying that no matter what we do we are always going to be outgunned ten to 1.

    And now suddenly not only are we not outgunned ten to 1. But no matter what we do. We cannot help ourselves buy shoot down everything coming at us. No updating or on-going investment is needed.

    So before it was we could invest until the cows come home and it would have no effect.

    Next the dumb commie house-nigger-wannabe reckons we are impregnable for all time and there is no need for updates.

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 7:08 pm

  135. Oh right.

    I get it.

    The contradiction is being made in THE SAME POST.

    So the commie reckons we cannot be touched so what’s the point in investing at all…..

    And at the same time we are always going to be outgunned ten to 1 no matter what we do.

    Your GENIUS IS TRULY REMARKABLE, FF, I THINK I OWE YOU A BEER.

    SOONED BY ADMIN.

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 7:10 pm

  136. OK Which is it fathead.

    Is it that we are impregnable and don’t need to invest or update?

    Or is it that no matter HOW MUCH we invest we will always be outgunned ten to 1.

    See the problem with lying and wanting us to lose is that you are going to forget what it is you said.

    But here you are forgetting within the scope of a single post.

    You’re an idiot I tell you.

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 7:12 pm

  137. I’ve eaten my dinner & cleaned up the kitchen, so am around to soon people if necessary.

    You have been warned!

    skepticlawyer

    November 1, 2006 at 7:16 pm

  138. Its good for them skeptic.

    This abuse is good for them.

    It is in the best Christian tradition of kindness to ones enemies that I swear at these dirty-commie traitors.

    It is for their benefit that I do this.

    I like this fellow Loren Thompsons commentary and have a high degree of confidence in him. Which is why I was so quick to assume you were right about this deal.

    We ought to have an open-ended accumulation policy which allows us to accumulate various platforms, each unit cheaper then the last. Or cheaper when adjusted for US money supply growth.

    We don’t want to get in debt for this sort of stuff.

    And the pressure of trying to buy another unit is a good thing if it puts pressure on trying to get rid of more tax-eaters from the unecessarily socialised sector.

    As I argued on my own blog we really want that financial power cocked and ready along with all other aspects of kick-ass.

    With that first stealth bomber the Bat-Plane look-alike… The B2 I believe.

    We saw at the outbreak of the Afghanistan war just how useful this platform was.

    How one or two of these can give great marginal benefits.

    The threat is a growing one. And so buying them from current taxation ought to be viable to keep ahead of that curve.

    Still it would be nice to have a whole bunch of them so that the Australian population gained a bit more confidence and could do a few things that need doing now.

    Like throwing out any Chinese spies.

    GMB

    November 1, 2006 at 7:51 pm

  139. I’m just trying to keep Catallaxy work-safe GMB.

    I do recommend Peter Criss’ article – he covers the issue slightly differently from Kopp and Thompson, but reaches the same conclusions about bureaucracy.

    skepticlawyer

    November 1, 2006 at 8:01 pm

  140. No contradiction, Bird. It’s real simple:

    Australia doesn’t need superfluous fancy hardware that we’re not going to use because the only fighting we are likely to be in will be more East Timor-type engagements. That is, we don’t have to arm ourselves as if Indonesia or Thailand or China were just waiting for a sign of weakness to descend in ravening hordes.

    Even if we DID decide to buy military hardware on that basis, we couldn’t possibly hope to buy enough to make any real difference if the above went on a freakishly bizzare suicidal rampage trying to take everything north of the Tropic of Capricorn. Suicidal because we belong to a military alliance with the world’d only superpower.

    I am not saying we don’t need armed forces. I’m not saying we should hide behind the skirts of the US. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have fighters, bombers, missiles, drones (but I don’t like nukes).

    I am saying that we should concentrate our meager resources on what will make the most difference. That may entail buying a few JSFs or Raptors or whatevers, but it should definitely entail making sure comparative advantages are exploited to the full. For example, we really need more infantry. These new soldiers will need air support, so of course let’s buy air support. But let’s not delude ourselves with visions of grandeur, and try to be capable of waging a war independently – that’s not going to happen for a very long time, if ever.

    As I keep telling you, I’m not an idiot. You simply fail to grasp my points, either through skim-reading or not thinking about what I’m saying.

    I’m going to ask you nicely – please stop insulting me without cause. Spend the time instead thinking about what I’m saying, carefully. It will be much more productive.

    And I’ll take you up on that offer of a beer. Thanks! 😉

    fatfingers

    November 1, 2006 at 8:16 pm

  141. I think you’d enjoy Criss’ piece too, ff. There’s some excellent stuff in there on military justice and how that’s been going wrong of late.

    skepticlawyer

    November 1, 2006 at 8:19 pm

  142. GMB I see no reason why we cannot peacefully coexist with the Chinese communists until they die of their internal contradictions. So far they have shown no sign of wishing to attack us: do you think this is because our mighty State has them scared? No, it is because their horizons are much more limited than you imagine.

    If deterrence is what you want then the capacity to respond to aggression with annihilatory violence is more effective than heavy lumps of metal stuck in the mud or planes that cannot even reach their territory. If weapons of mass destruction were in private hands the deterrence would be all the more effective.

    Timothy Can

    November 1, 2006 at 8:40 pm

  143. You’re talking nonsense from start to finish.

    Better to go with reality instead of make-believe.

    But expand on what you are saying.

    Then we will see.

    GMB

    November 2, 2006 at 2:28 am

  144. Fatfingers you are an idiot and a liar.

    Now lets go again.

    On the one hand you reckon that we don’t need to invest any. Since we can talke down anything with our current airforce.

    And on the other hand you say that we are always going to be outgunned ten to 1.

    You are only pretending to have reconciled this nonsense. You have not done so.

    Don’t start bullshitting people about comparative advantage. We are not talking about an export business here.

    GMB

    November 2, 2006 at 2:33 am

  145. “Australia doesn’t need superfluous fancy hardware that we’re not going to use because the only fighting we are likely to be in will be more East Timor-type engagements.”

    You complete fucking idiot. I’ve already explained why this is THE EXACT OPPOSITE of the way one has to look at deterrence.

    East Timor does not and cannot threaten us.

    So we do not put together our military capacity with East Timor in mind if we wish to stay free and be free men rather then Quisling-House-Slaves.

    GMB

    November 2, 2006 at 2:40 am

  146. “I’ve already explained why this is THE EXACT OPPOSITE of the way one has to look at deterrence.”

    Therefore no-one can possibly disagree, because you’ve decreed it. What a way to have a conversation, Bird. You must be so much fun to hang around.

    But seriously, I wasn’t talking deterrence in that paragraph. If you could read properly, you would notice the second paragraph, where I talk about deterrence.

    Get a grip. But first, get reading glasses, or get yourself to a remedial class.

    fatfingers

    November 2, 2006 at 3:36 pm

  147. “On the one hand you reckon that we don’t need to invest any.”

    Wrong! You must be not very bright. I have never said this. You extrapolate incorrectly, my near-sighted sparring partner. I simply wish Australia to invest wisely.

    “You are only pretending to have reconciled this nonsense. You have not done so.”

    No, you just don’t understand, possibly because of a double-digit IQ. You could try showing how I haven’t reconciled my statements, but you seem to prefer just declaring, not arguing.

    fatfingers

    November 2, 2006 at 3:42 pm

  148. Its not that you have to agree.

    But you are such a dumb bastard you show no sign that you’ve even fucking taken it on board.

    I mean what a dick.

    The Soviet Union had TENS OF THOUSANDS OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

    Now you mean to say that the possession of these had NO BEARING on the international system on the following grounds…… THEY NEVER USED THEM!!!.

    Is that your theory you dope.

    That the weapons don’t mean anything unless you USE THEM?

    I mean what a fucking idiot you are.

    If you don’t end up using them and still stay free with the peace of your own choosing THAT IS SUCCESS.

    Lets not worry about whether you agree or not. You are way too stupid for us to have gotten that far.

    Show me that you even FUCKING UNDERSTAND for starters.

    If Indonesia had air dominance and superpower back-up how do you think the East Timor stoush would have gone?….

    You beginning to CLICK yet?

    You starting to see a pattern forming?….. hey?……….. dopey?……….

    “If Indonesia had air dominance and superpower back-up how do you think the East Timor stoush would have gone?….”

    We would have gotten all our guys slaughtered is how it would have gone.

    Attempt to make a clean break from idiocy…… From now on.

    From now.

    Synchronise watches…

    A clean break from idiocy.

    From………NOW!!!!! (GO!!)

    GMB

    November 2, 2006 at 3:45 pm

  149. “Is that your theory you dope.”

    Of course not, you dope. How on earth can you possibly compare Australia with the USSR? Of all the dopey comparisons to make. How is the situation even remotely similar?

    “If Indonesia had air dominance and superpower back-up how do you think the East Timor stoush would have gone?”

    My guess is Australia wouldn’t have dared to intervene, because we are a frickin minnow on the world stage. So no stoush at all.

    Dopey, Australia on its own can’t deter shit. We can deter New Zealand, the Solomons, Papua, and that’s about it. Do we have any need to deter them? NO! Because they are tadpoles to our minnow!

    If you want to build up a huge powerful military to feel like a big man because you have a tiny dick, just say so! Don’t try to put a geo-strategic spin on your inadequacies.

    fatfingers

    November 2, 2006 at 4:14 pm

  150. “Of course not, you dope. How on earth can you possibly compare Australia with the USSR?”

    You fucking idiot.

    Can someone take some time out and explain to this DOPE what an EXAMPLE is??

    Right. Because you are such a fucking idiot. And you ignored the PRINCIPLE of what I said I’m having to repost:

    “The Soviet Union had TENS OF THOUSANDS OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS.
    Now you mean to say that the possession of these had NO BEARING on the international system on the following grounds…… THEY NEVER USED THEM!!!.”

    On what basis CAN I NOT compare Australia to the Soviet Union when the comparison in question is relevant.

    We aren’t talking, in this example, about About Australia or the Soviet Union PER SE (you fucking moron).

    We are trying to point out for the seriously dishonest and idiotic that whether you expect to actually use the weaponry or not is NOT THE FUCKING POINT YOU DUMB SHIT.

    Clearly this HAS TO BE THE CASE YOU SIMPLE FUCKWIT when the whole point of your defense policy is to avoid catastrophic war.

    Do you think in your deepest wells of ignorance that I want us focused on Chins BECAUSE I WANT CHINA TO MAKE DIRECT WAR ON US????

    Was THAT your understanding.

    Of course not.

    We concentrate on the defense against China in order to stop a war with China happening…… And not have to kneel down either.

    So we buy the weapons ON THE BASIS THAT if we are successful in our policy in several decades time we will look back.

    And the smart people will say:

    “Isn’t it terrific. Our policy worked. We were supreme in the air to the far side of Indonesia. And no-one made us prove it in battle”

    And the really stupid bastards will say:

    “Look at all the money we spentt on buying and maintaining this awesome capability. AND WE DIDN’T EVEN USE IT. ….. We were clearly delusional. These Raptors were the most monumental flying fucking white elephants in Australian history.”

    Now.

    Dopey.

    Do you at least understand the concept?

    It would be helpful if you at least proved somehow that THE CONCEPT OF IT hasn’t gone over your simple low-flying little-mind.

    GMB

    November 2, 2006 at 4:28 pm

  151. “Dopey, Australia on its own can’t deter shit.”

    1. My oath we can.

    2. Who said we were on our own you complete fuckwit? China is surrounded.

    GMB

    November 2, 2006 at 4:30 pm

  152. “Can someone take some time out and explain to this DOPE what an EXAMPLE is??”

    You nincompoop. Of course it was an example, just an atrocious one. You can’t have interchangeable military strategies between countries, it doesn’t work that way. Deterrence is reasonable and necessary for some, but not others. Some face threats, others don’t. Some are engaged in a worldwide struggle for hegemony with another superpower, and others aren’t. So your example was IRRELEVANT!

    Getting to your actual point buried beneath the abuse, that the use of weapons is not all you have to think about when buying the weapons – it all depends on the country in question’s situation. See above.

    “when the whole point of your defense policy is to avoid catastrophic war.”

    Catastrophic war with who, dopey? China (the only ones physically capable) are not going to invade, not because we buy some planes, and not because of any possible weapons we buy unless we devote a huge chunk of the budget to that end, but because it would be stupid and pointless.

    “My oath we can.”

    Yeah, we can whup Papua’s army no sweat.

    “Who said we were on our own ”

    That’s the point, dopey! We are not, so we don’t need to act as if we are! Is this getting through to you yet?

    fatfingers

    November 2, 2006 at 5:15 pm

  153. No you are being an idiot and a liar.

    “You can’t have interchangeable military strategies between countries…”

    When did I say you could you commie fucking liar?

    In fact I didn’t ever say anything like that did I you third-rail house-slave-wannabe.

    I never did did I?

    So you are just lying.

    “Catastrophic war with who, dopey? China (the only ones physically capable) are not going to invade, not because we buy some planes, and not because of any possible weapons we buy unless we devote a huge chunk of the budget to that end, but because it would be stupid and pointless.”

    Well thats alright then. Oh happy days. So in your view then…. it doesn’t matter what we do.

    In your view WE DON’T FACE A DEFENSE COMMITTMENT.

    And peoples actions are in no way contingent on our own.

    We simply don’t need to spend money on defense.

    Is that your view.

    What the fuck is it you are claiming you commie filth?

    GMB

    November 2, 2006 at 6:16 pm

  154. Oh Happy happy days.

    fatfingers has found out that we don’t even require defense spending at all. In fact it was all just senseless behaviour by generations of terrible right-wingers.

    Well its so nice you put that one to rest………(shit-for-brains?)

    Hey fuckhead.

    Under YOUR theory…… explain the existence of war?

    GMB

    November 2, 2006 at 6:19 pm

  155. “In your view WE DON’T FACE A DEFENSE COMMITTMENT. fatfingers has found out that we don’t even require defense spending at all. We simply don’t need to spend money on defense.”

    Bird, you are an outright liar. Or you are an outright idiot. Let’s peruse WHAT I ACTUALLY SAID:

    “Having air power is a must, but we should be modeling it on the army – small, effective, reliable and flexible.”

    “Boots on the ground are where the real work happens after the fireworks of air strikes and missiles, and where our limited resources should be targeted.”

    “I am NOT saying we don’t need armed forces. I’m NOT saying we shouldn’t have fighters, bombers, missiles, drones”

    “we really need more infantry. These new soldiers will need air support, so of course let’s buy air support.”

    GMB, you have been shown for what you are – a big fat liar. You must go through your asbestos pants colelction at a fearsome rate.

    I want a retraction, dopey. In your very next post on this thread. Otherwise don’t bother coming back.

    fatfingers

    November 2, 2006 at 7:53 pm

  156. I agree Graeme. You owe fatty an apology.

    Jason Soon

    November 2, 2006 at 8:09 pm

  157. Nevertheless, fatty still seems to be arguing that big air power is unnecessary because a) we’re never going to fight – or be able to fight – a nation-on-nation war by ourselves anyway and b) the opportunity cost of big air power is a less formidable infantry and a diminished capacity to project traditional policing and mop-up capability.

    I simply repeat the argument I’ve presented above. Namely, that the projection of regional power, will and commitment that would be flagged by a renewed big air power policy would BOLSTER our credentials and gravitas in the region, thus affirming – not diminishing – our boots-on-the-ground role. Opportunity cost arguments can always be mocked up – more of x could be less of y – but I think the weight of opportunity cost is offset by the dual strategy I’ve outlined.

    Nor, as I’ve said, does a dualistic perspective mean that Australian Raptorism is merely symbolic; in the event of a big war, there is absolutely no good reason why Australia should not play an important airforce role; that hypothetical war could be large enough to include sub-theatres of operation wherein the Americans would appreciate it if we could do some of the heavy lifting (and bombing) for ourselves.

    C.L.

    November 2, 2006 at 8:28 pm

  158. CL, you are a breath of fresh air in this Bird-heavy debate. I recognise your argument, and I think it has merit. I still think you overstate the bolstering effect. But overall you make a good case.

    fatfingers

    November 2, 2006 at 8:31 pm

  159. My pleasure, fatty. 😉

    C.L.

    November 2, 2006 at 10:58 pm

  160. ““Having air power is a must, but we should be modeling it on the army – small, effective, reliable and flexible.”

    But why? If no-one will ever invade us under any circumstance…. in your idiots point of view…. then why have an airforce.

    If we are magically immune from Chi-Com intimidation, though we are meeklky putting up with their spies, why have an airforce in the first place.

    Now you are absolutely clear that we face no danger from China?

    Presumably that goes for anyone else too.

    So if you believe that why bother with an airforce.

    It doesn’t matter what you SAY fatfingers. You are an idiot and you contradictt yourself with every other step.

    GMB

    November 3, 2006 at 1:55 am

  161. ““Having air power is a must, but we should be modeling it on the army – small, effective, reliable and flexible.”

    You idiot?

    How the fuck does this tie up with the idea that we face no threat whatsoever from China or (presumably) from anyone else?

    It doesn’t matter what you say if none of your idiocy hangs together.

    You have said this yes. But elsewhere you’ve implied something else.

    Its the fact that you contradict yourself all the time that makes you an idiot.

    Why do we need airpower if no-one would invade us?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>

    CL. You have to get away from this symbolism and prestige talk. I mean thats all true. But its misleading. Politicians have to talk like that but we don’t.

    GMB

    November 3, 2006 at 2:13 am

  162. “I agree Graeme. You owe fatty an apology.”

    Don’t be ridiculous Jason.

    He claims we don’t face any chance of an invasion from China or anyone else regardless of what we do.

    Ergo he implies we don’t need any sort of capable airforce.

    It doesn’t matter WHAT he says elsewhere.

    Elsewhere he contradicts himself. So what? That does not speak in his favour.

    Now if we need an airforce presumably we have an authentic defense-need and therefore we need a good airforce.

    C.L will you stop this silly prestige talk. Its not that you are wrong exactly. But you are telling people that its all some sort of ego thing. Rather then a matter of survival.

    GMB

    November 3, 2006 at 2:21 am

  163. Sorry for the repetition. For some reason the appearance of my posts was held over.

    GMB

    November 3, 2006 at 2:23 am


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