An Australian focused analysis of how suitable the F-35 is to the continent of Australia. While there is a map displayed, and linked below, that covers the six primary operating bases the RAAF would use in the event of a conflict it uses an incorrect range and some poor assumptions.
The F-35 in an A2A config, including combat time in a standard high altitude engagement sequence, has a combat radius closer to 1400kms. This is significantly longer than the suggested 1000kms in the article. While the article doesn’t address A2A refuelling, until apparently the next instalment, it is well worth considering the future of a RAAF force that likely would comprise both the KC-30 and drone tankers. A more interesting metric to review might be the projected range of loyal wingman concepts which will be important force multipliers for future warfare concepts. Additionally factoring in Growth Option One and Two for the F135, promising increased thrust and reduced fuel burn with option one available from 2020, also increases range and capability of the aircraft.
The other interesting factor to consider is that no other current in production fighter airframe has a longer range with payload and sensor capability than the F-35. In that context, what else could the RAAF acquyire that could better meet their requirements?Projecting power with the F-35 (part 1): How far can it go?
https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/proje ... can-it-go/
One of the ironies of the current debate about how Australia should adjust its military strategy in light of the changing great-power balance in the Indo-Pacific is that many of the participants—regardless of their views on the future of US military power—make similar recommendations, namely, that Australia should seek greater defence self-reliance.
This would be achieved by capability solutions based largely on ‘more of the same’. That is, to meet an increasingly uncertain strategic environment, our future force structure should be built around more of the things we already have, or are getting, such as F-35A joint strike fighters and submarines (even if some advocate different submarines from the ones we’ll eventually get under the current plan).
So it’s important to understand those systems and their limitations to see what additional capability more of them would provide. Since Australia and its region are geographically far-flung, and we have only a small number of military assets, we’ll focus on their ability to maintain a presence over large distances. The key question is, to what extent do the capabilities the Australian Defence Force is acquiring enable Australia to project power and what would further enhance that power projection?
We’ll start with the F-35A. Defence is in the process of acquiring 72, with potentially some more down the track. The F-35A is now a very capable aircraft, but it still faces the old problem that, no matter how good a military platform is, it can’t be in two places at once. And due to the inherent limitations of fighter aircraft, there are a lot of places they can’t be at any time.