Thursday, June 28, 2007

Aussies buying Big Honking Ships

As if Canada ever will (text subscriber only--more on Canada here):
Australia has chosen the larger of two helicopter-carrying assault ships it was considering ordering for an A$3- billion (U.S.$2.5-billion) project. The design by Spanish shipbuilder Navantia displaces 27,000 metric tons and can carry 1,200 soldiers, eight helicopters and up to 150 vehicles...
More here and here. It would seem that the Aussies are not going spare over the regional development aspect.

It's also worth noting that, in addition to planning to buy 100 F-35s, Australia is buying 24 F/A-18Es. And they have 2/3 Canada's population (though living in a more problematic neighbourhood).


Blogger Chris Taylor said...

I hope they also decide to get some C-mod Lightnings for the Big Honkin' Ship.

10:25 a.m., June 29, 2007  
Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

The STOVL version doesn't make you nervous, Chris? That's one hell of a lot of modifications to make to an airframe and still call it the same plane.

10:58 a.m., June 29, 2007  
Blogger Chris Taylor said...

Actually that's the B-mod... but that's the one I meant. Oops. =) If you're going to buy an LHD, you might as well buy some fixed-wing CAS (with significant air-air capability) that can be embarked on it. Otherwise you have to depend heavily on your fleet DDGs and beachhead AAA to keep the bandits away.

STOVL is always technically challenging, but the entire F-35 program is light-years ahead of old-school design and acquisition programs. 80% of the bird is common across all three variants, and that's an amazing figure. Think of the cost savings of paring down the current panoply of strike fighters and their logistics tails down to a single common bird with some dissimilar parts.

They have already done some very significant testing of the engine and control mechanisms, and it's looking good so far. The only major struggle is keeping Congressional funding in place and (hopefully) increasing the acquisition rate to something more reasonable than 48 birds/year.

12:38 p.m., June 29, 2007  
Blogger arctic_front said...

There is always much danger when you try to make one airframe do everything. Just as any woman knows, one pair of shoes is just doesn't fulfill every need.

fighter-bomber, air-superiority, both have very different requirements. Hence the F-16, F-15,F-14, and F-18 aircraft. There is no way to make one design do all those different jobs effectively. You have to specialize somewhat.

an air-superiority fighter like an F-15 uses agility and power to sweep the skies of enemy aircraft and shoots missles from long distances.

F/A 18's are rugged machines that can carry lots of ordinance to the target, and fight their way in and out. F-16's are the workhorse of the battle when prescision is not as important as tonnage...... F-117 and B-2's are the super prescision delivery systems......

The F-35 in any varient may be attractive to bean-counters....but the pointy-end of the stick will have to suffer the consequences of the compromise forced on them by relying on a single airframe to do many jobs.....each sacrificing something in capability to meet an economic target that is completely arbitrary.

3:30 a.m., July 05, 2007  

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