Legs
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Australia To Acquire 12 F/A-18G Growler Aircraft

Fri May 03, 2013 1:15 am

As part of the Defence White Paper release today, the Government and Defence Minister have announced that Australia will acquire 12 new build F/A18-G Growler aircraft, as well as retaining the existing 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets already in service at RAAF Amberley, bringing the Super Hornet fleet to 36.

Some relevant quotes from the media release, which is available here: Defence Media Room - Defence White Paper Air Combat Capability

12 Growler aircraft will enhance significantly the ADF’s electronic warfare capability and, together with the JSF and the Super Hornet, will form a formidable air combat force capable of controlling both the air and electronic environments.

A decision on replacing the Super Hornets with additional JSF aircraft will be made closer to the withdrawal of the Super Hornets, which is not expected until around 2030

The Government remains committed to acquiring the fifth-generation JSF aircraft, with three operational squadrons planned to enter service beginning around 2020 to replace the F/A-18A/B Hornet aircraft.

Further White Paper media releases, including releases on the United States Alliance, ADF Force Posture and more are available at Defence Minister - Media Room
 
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Revelation
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RE: Australia To Acquire 12 F/A-18G Growler Aircraft

Fri May 03, 2013 2:02 am

Quoting legs (Thread starter):
12 Growler aircraft will enhance significantly the ADF’s electronic warfare capability

Quite an understatement!

If need be, these birds can leave the EM pods on the ground and perform other missions, right?

Quoting legs (Thread starter):

A decision on replacing the Super Hornets with additional JSF aircraft will be made closer to the withdrawal of the Super Hornets, which is not expected until around 2030

Glad to see they will be here quite a while!
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Legs
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RE: Australia To Acquire 12 F/A-18G Growler Aircraft

Fri May 03, 2013 2:11 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 1):
If need be, these birds can leave the EM pods on the ground and perform other missions, right?

As far as I know, thats pretty much right. Without the pods, I dont think they lose any capability over a regular Super Hornet, except for the cannon and the wingtip missile rails.
 
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moo
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RE: Australia To Acquire 12 F/A-18G Growler Aircraft

Fri May 03, 2013 12:01 pm

Quoting legs (Reply 2):
Without the pods, I dont think they lose any capability over a regular Super Hornet, except for the cannon and the wingtip missile rails.

I would imagine they are slightly heavier due to the additional wiring, but then a proportion of the current Australian SH fleet is wired for future conversion to EF-18G standard anyway.
 
ThePointblank
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RE: Australia To Acquire 12 F/A-18G Growler Aircraft

Sat May 04, 2013 1:46 am

This is tied to the fact that Australia's fleet of Hornet's are starting to crap out after so many years. They need a stopgap because unlike Canada, when we undertook our life extension programs in the last ten years, we made them open-ended (the very lengthy CF-18 Incremental Modernization Program was initiated in 2001 and final upgraded birds were completed in 2010). As such, we can extend our CF-18 life for more years if necessary... but the RCAF believes that it won't be required as the fleet can fly until 2022 or so because we conducted major structural work and analysis on our CF-18's at the same time to extend the lives of the aircraft.

The Aussies didn't conduct the same level of structural work as we did, so their legacy Hornet fleets will start crapping out soon after 2017 or so. The issue is that everybody wants to buy F-35 at the $85~95 million price point, which is 2019 or so when full rate production commences. That's the gap they face, and thus the need for a gap filler.
 
Oroka
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RE: Australia To Acquire 12 F/A-18G Growler Aircraft

Sat May 04, 2013 1:58 am

Why buy new build Growlers when they have 12 Rhinos pre-wired? It would make more sense to buy 12 more E/F (say a 10/2 split) and have the prewired frames upgraded to full Growler standard?
 
Stealthz
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RE: Australia To Acquire 12 F/A-18G Growler Aircraft

Sat May 04, 2013 1:38 pm

Quoting Oroka (Reply 5):
It would make more sense to buy 12 more E/F

If they upgraded the existing prewired -F models and bought 12 more F(RAAF has no E models)then there would be 24 -F and 12 Growlers, this way there is a level of redundancy and flexibility.
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moo
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RE: Australia To Acquire 12 F/A-18G Growler Aircraft

Sat May 04, 2013 5:35 pm

Quoting Oroka (Reply 5):

Time? Straight acquisition of extra frames already kitted as Growlers takes less time to full operational capability than buying replacement airframes and then taking current airframes out of rotation.
 
Ozair
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RE: Australia To Acquire 12 F/A-18G Growler Aircraft

Sun May 05, 2013 1:41 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 1):

If need be, these birds can leave the EM pods on the ground and perform other missions, right?

Not quite correct. The EA-18G is only cleared for AIM-120, AGM-88 and the ESM pods. No other stores have been certified for the jet yet as per phase 1, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_EA-18G_Growler No reason more weapons can't be integrated onto the jet, just a matter of someone providing the cash, time and resources to do it.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 1):
Quoting legs (Thread starter):

A decision on replacing the Super Hornets with additional JSF aircraft will be made closer to the withdrawal of the Super Hornets, which is not expected until around 2030

Glad to see they will be here quite a while!

That is the biggest change. The original 24 SH were only funded till 2020. This means the SH and Growlers will be around till 2030. While a wise move to preserve capability it still leaves the RAAF with a mixed fleet, something they were trying desperately not to have.

It also rules out any future order for SH. The RAAF can now wait for the F-35 to arrive by maintaining the SH fleet, running down the classic fleet and using the Growler to assist both should the need arise.
 
Oroka
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RE: Australia To Acquire 12 F/A-18G Growler Aircraft

Sun May 05, 2013 1:56 pm

Quoting moo (Reply 7):
Time? Straight acquisition of extra frames already kitted as Growlers takes less time to full operational capability than buying replacement airframes and then taking current airframes out of rotation.

It is going to take probably a year before new Rhino frames start showing up in Australia. The reason for the pre wiring those 12 frames was to make the upgrade easier. The hardware could be ordered and installed in Australia on the first pre wired frame before the new frames show up. Or, as a new Rhino frame shows up, a Growler goes into the upgrade routine.
 
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moo
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RE: Australia To Acquire 12 F/A-18G Growler Aircraft

Sun May 05, 2013 3:43 pm

Quoting Oroka (Reply 9):

But you are still taking airframes out of circulation doing it that way - having the current airframes prewired was supposed to enable an upgrade if there were no further acquisitions, but here we are with more aircraft being acquired and that changes the game somewhat.

Order more airframes, have them delivered as Growlers and you don't need to take additional airframes out of service, nor do you need to plan a local upgrade program etc etc.

Doing those things makes sense if you aren't adding additional airframes.

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