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JSF DOT&E REPORT The Australian F-35 context


An opportunity for Australia

SEA 5000

Pre-decision summary

Volume 37 No. 2 MARCH/APRIL 2018


Next-gen C2 explained


2018 Conference summary



Rheinmetall Boxer selected for LAND 400 Phase 2


ARMY EQUIPMENT, SERVICES AND TECHNOLOGY IN AUSTRALIA AND THE INDO-ASIA-PACIFIC For further information and exhibition enquiries contact the Sales Team Tel: +61(0)3 5282 0500 Email:


Volume 37 No. 2 MARCH/APRIL 2018

32 Down to the wire -

the SEA 5000 contenders



4 Initial Point

12 Boxer wins LAND400/2

38 Aegis Baseline 9

4 Upcoming Events

14 P-8A achieves RAAF IOC

40 2018 RAAF Air Power Conference wrap

16 OpEd - Senator David Fawcett

46 Williams Foundation seminar wrap

18 BAE selected for JORN upgrade

48 IAMD for Australia?

6 Battlespace

20 US Navy commits to Super Hornet Block III

ADBR is published by: Felix Advantage PO Box 7166 Warringah Mall BROOKVALE NSW 2100 Web: Em: Ph: +61 (0)2 6232 7474 Twitter: @DefenceBusiness Facebook: @ADBRonline

52 Combat Cloud - Next Gen C2

22 DOT&E JSF Report - an RAAF context

56 What the FY19 US Defense Budget means for Australia

28 IAI Heron TP - AIR 7003 outsider?

62 Hanwha re-targets Australian market

Managing Editor Andrew McLaughlin Em: Associate Editor Gerard Frawley Senior Contributor Max Blenkin Publisher John Conway

Contributors this issue Chris McInnes Brig Gen Kenn Todorov (Ret.) Senator David Fawcett Proof Reader Bruce McLaughlin Marketing & Sales Manager Matt Conway Em: Ph: +61(0)400 352 334

“It is an outstanding addition to Army capability and a quantum leap forward in our capacity to prosecute the mission...” LTGEN Angus Campbell, page 12

© Felix Advantage 2018. All material published in Australian Defence Business Review is copyright and may not be used without the express permission of the publisher. ISSN 1033-2898 Cover The Rheinmetall Boxer CRV has been selected for Project LAND 400 Phase 2, full story on Page 12. REINMETALL



Capability first, Australian industry always!


n the wake of the March 14 announcement that Rheinmetall’s Boxer was selected as the preferred combat reconnaissance vehicle for Army’s LAND 400 Phase 2, there were cries of foul from the Victorian state industry minister. “We are the home of manufacturing in Australia and have the skills, knowledge and expertise to deliver the best and safest military vehicles for our defence force – but Malcolm Turnbull has betrayed Victoria yet again,” Minister for Industry and Employment Ben Carroll said in a media release. “Rheinmetall will manufacture its vehicles in Queensland – meaning Malcolm Turnbull has dudded Victorians again, denying our state close to $1 billion in economic activity and over 2,000 jobs.” But despite Victoria being “betrayed” or “dudded”, the big winner has been the Australian Army and its armoured cavalry elements. Although both vehicles reportedly met Army’s specifications for survivability and manoeuvrability, Defence insiders tell ADBR that, despite being more expensive and being less manoeuvrable than the rival AMV35 the Boxer exceeded the project’s requirements “across the board.” In this age of asymmetric warfare where a threat can come from any direction in


any dimension, the Boxer’s survivability was deemed “exceptional”, especially when compared to the comparatively puny ASLAV which it will replace (see pic on page 13). Further, the growth potential for ongoing upgrades to its already comprehensive sensor and communications suites makes the Boxer Army’s 5th generation equivalent of the RAAF’s F-35 JSF. “I am absolutely delighted at the vehicle that the Army is going to receive,” Chief of Army LTGEN Angus Campbell said at the announcement. “It is an outstanding addition to Army capability and a quantum leap forward in our capacity to prosecute the mission given to us by our Government and to take care of our people in doing so.” Fortunately, outside of the state ministerial rhetoric, saner heads prevailed in the Victorian defence industry, with Claire S Willette, CEO Australian Industry & Defence Network issuing a release the day before the announcement. “Although the Rheinmetall proposal focused heavily on a Queensland presence, ultimately the opportunities for all of Australia’s SME community are great,” she said. “In Victoria, which has an acknowledged level of expertise in the design, development, assembly, and support of

ground-based vehicles, there are 12 businesses…who will directly benefit from participation (representing 170 jobs), and likely an even greater number who will find themselves in a position of supporting the program. “It is this sort of capacity building and collaboration which will serve to ensure further success across the Nation’s industrial base, and see an increase in export opportunities for Australia’s Defence Industry.” After all, isn’t this what it should be all about? Of course the best capability for the requirement should always be chosen, providing it fits within the budget allocated and can be integrated with other ADF and allied systems. But instead of considering which bidder has the best politically justifiable industrial case, or suggesting a desired Australian Industrial Capability percentage with little more than a nod and a wink, wouldn’t it be easier to clearly state a minimum AIC plan as a key requirement? These requirements should clearly state minimum levels of investments required in STEM, local workforce training, establishing a local supplier base, global supply chain opportunities, and long-term sustainment planning. Or am I making too much sense?


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Canberra-based radar company CEA Technologies has signed a formal agreement with the Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group to collaborate on the development of nextgeneration radar. CEA already produces world leading solid state phased array radars which are in service on the Navy’s Anzac class frigates and which are mandated for use on the nine Project SEA 5000 Future Frigates. Australia’s Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky said they now needed to consider what could come after the phased array. “What’s the next game changer in the area? Our job is to be thinking what can we be bringing beyond this type of technology,” he said at the ceremony for signing of the new five-year agreement in Canberra on February 14. Dr Zelinsky said DST had clever people and could go off and work on new radar technologies, as could CEA. But the rate of change of technology was accelerating and the ADF was an important although small customer. “To grow capability and get it to Australia…more quickly and more affordably, we need to be thinking about how to help Australian industry export,” he said. Dr Zelinsky said collaborations and partnerships were becoming a fundamental part of how DST did business, with an over-riding criteria to work with the best. “In the past DST’s role has really been a


technical risk assessor of CEA’s technology. We were always just putting the ruler over the technology without having an engagement. “We have now gone way beyond that,” he added. “We still have that role of doing technical risk but we also have to do R&D. I couldn’t think of a better company to do R&D with than a world leader in radar technologies like CEA.” CEA chief executive officer Merv Davis said this was an opportunity to generate more expertise and greater capacities to do more faster and that was really the end game. “I don’t see this particular agreement as doing anything other than refining and putting substance to that relationship as we take it to the next step. “This sets us on a pathway to develop a range of critical technologies and capabilities, capabilities that are recognised as strategically important to the ADF, capabilities that are

fundamentally important now but increasingly in the future. “Not insignificantly it reinforces the ability of Australian industry to contribute leading edge technology cost-effectively. It will assist in developing the international relationships that are critically important in this day and age.”

FOUNTX TO TRIAL FOUNTX_AsR WITH ST AEROSPACE The aerospace arm of Singapore-based ST Engineering plans to begin trials of the Fountx_AsR wearable assisted technology developed by Australian firm TAE and the CSIRO. Fountx_AsR comprises a headset that includes a camera, microphone and eye-level display screen powered by a computer inside a backpack. The technology allows a qualified expert to

Fountx general manager Laurence Beraldo demonstrates Fountx to Chief of Air Force AIRMSHL Leo Davies. FOUNTX

remotely monitor and instruct someone through engineering or maintenance tasks from hundreds, if not thousands, of kilometres away. The Fountx_AsR technology was recognised with a civil industry national innovation award at the 2017 Avalon Airshow. ST Aerospace chief operating officer Jeffrey Lam said trials of the Fountx_AsR were part of the company’s efforts to improve its operations. “As part of our continuous commitment to deliver MRO services with high standards in quality and safety, ST Aerospace has been investing in Smart MRO initiatives, including digitising our hangar and shop floor operations,” Lam said in a statement. “We are happy to work together with technology companies such as Fountx to explore how to enhance our operations with digital solutions.” ST Aerospace, which has about 9,000 staff around the world, conducts maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) work for customers that include airlines, air freight operators and the military, and is one of the first companies to look at introducing Fountx_AsR into their operations. While the initial use of Fountx_AsR is primarily in aerospace and defence, Fountx general manager Laurence Beraldo says there were also a lot of potential applications across a number of industries such as oil and gas, mining and health. “Technical teams can access


the guidance they need by glancing up to an above-eye display, and they can still clearly see what is right in front of them,” Beraldo said in a statement. “It doesn’t affect their spatial awareness or increase cognitive load, which is a big advantage over virtual or augmented reality technology. “The time and cost-saving potential of this technology was evident from the start, and we’ve now developed Fountx_AsR to the point where we believe that it is the best system of its kind in the world,” Beraldo added.

management and development responsibility for the Hobart class family of vessels is a significant milestone in the development of Navantia as a global company.”


Navantia Australia has been designated class manager for the Hobart class


Sydney-based Thomas Global Systems has announced it has established an alliance with Safran Defence to support defence and related technologies in Australia. The announcement will see Thomas Global create a specialist advanced manufacturing facility in Australia, which will provide production and long-term support for a range of Safran technologies, including Safran’s PASEO sighting system. “The creation of this alliance is a huge vote of confidence in the capability of Australian industry to deliver world-class defence and aerospace technology,” Angus Hutchinson, CEO of Thomas Global said in a statement. “We are proud to have been selected by Safran, one of the world’s largest aerospace and defence companies with leading technologies across optronics, avionics, electronics and mission critical software for civil and military markets,” he added. “Our alliance with Safran will bring some of the most advanced defence manufacturing to Australia and will mean the entire PASEO family for land applications and potential maritime applications can be built in Australia,

DDG and any variants such as the F5000 future frigate offering. DEFENCE

the only production location outside France.” Alexis de Pelleport, CEO of Safran Pacific added, “Safran is pleased to form this strategic alliance with Thomas Global and through this partnership, we will transfer mature, cutting-edge capabilities and technology to Australia. This establishes a platform for Australian industry to compete for significant local and export contracts.” PASEO is a panoramic targeting sighting system designed for medium and large calibre turrets, wheeled and tracked vehicles, is capable of firing anti-tank guided missiles, and is protected against small arms projectiles and artillery fragments. The system is being pitched for integration with the successful LAND 400 Phase 2 combat reconnaissance vehicle, and for the LAND 907 Phase 2 M1A1 Abrams upgrade programs.

NAVANTIA AUSTRALIA DESIGNATED CLASS MANAGER FOR HOBART CLASS DDGS Spain’s Navantia S.A. has designated Navantia Australia as the Class Manager for the new Hobart class destroyers.

Navantia says the announcement represents a significant milestone in the development of the sovereign capability of Navantia Australia and strengthens Australia’s naval shipbuilding credentials. “This decision is the largest, most valuable transfer of intellectual property that I am aware of in the history of Australian defence industry,” Warren King, chairman of Navantia Australia said in a statement. “This transfer means that the design of the Hobart class and its future developments will all be managed from Australia. This includes the F-5000 we are offering as Australia’s future frigate, as well as export variants.” José Esteban Garcia Vilasanchez, chairman of Navantia S.A. said the designation is a recognition of Navantia Australia’s growing design capability and of the success of the Hobart class build, the latest in the F-100 family. “We are able to make this designation due to the success of the technology transfer of the Hobart class and the over one million hours of effort which went into adapting the F-100 design for Australian requirements,” Mr Vilasanchez said. “The fact that Navantia Australia now has the

Lockheed Martin has appointed Greg Ulmer to the position of vice president and general manager of its F-35 program. Mr Ulmer succeeds Jeff Babione, who has moved to a new role as vice president and general manager of Advanced Development Programs (ADP), the famed ‘Skunk Works’. Greg Ulmer comes to the role after serving as vice president, F-35 Aircraft Production Business Unit (PBU), where he was responsible for executing all production contracts and set the priorities and strategy as the program approaches global full-rate production. He has 30 years of aerospace experience including positions as vice president, Operations and Production Programs for the Skunk Works; vice president of Aeronautics Programs and Operations for Maintenance, Modification, Repair and Overhaul; vice president for the C-5M modernisation program; and deputy vice president for the C-130J program. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University; and a master’s degree in Aviation and Aerospace Business Management from the University of Tennessee.


A persistent issue with the onboard oxygen generating system (OBOGS) of US Navy F/A-18 Hornets and EA-18G Growlers took centre-stage in US Congressional hearings in MARCH/APRIL 2018  7


Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne opens Lockheed Martin’s new Canberra office. ANDREW MCLAUGHLIN

February. The ranking member of the House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee, Democrat Representative Niki Tsongas said on February 6, “As we sit here today, new F/A-18s are rolling off the production [line] at a cost of around (US)$69 million per aircraft. At some point, paying (US)$69 million for an aircraft we know has serious problems with its life-support system has to be questioned.” The OBOGS issues have triggered a number of hypoxialike physiological events (PE) in the last decade, as well as some decompression events. In response, US Navy Rear Admiral Sarah Joyner said the service is looking to make a series of design changes to the F/A-18’s OBOGS and Environmental Control System (ECS) that it hopes will make the aircraft safer to operate. ADBR submitted a list of written questions to the ADF asking whether RAAF Hornets, Super Hornets and Growlers have experienced similar events. “Personnel safety is Defence’s number one priority,” a Defence spokesman said in response. “Physiological episodes are caused by complex


interactions between human physiology and the aircraft breathing air system. “The problem is extremely complex as contaminants can be generated by a number of sources both within and external to the aircraft. Investigations led by the US Navy continue to develop a detailed understanding of this problem. “Australian F/A-18F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircrew have experienced events known as physiological episodes. The Royal Australian Air Force continues to exercise a risk management plan for both the Super Hornets and Growlers. “In line with this risk management plan, Defence has established a program to reduce the occurrence and severity of physiological episodes, which includes: • in-aircraft incorporation of a breathing air purification system • increase of emergency oxygen supply to assist in aircrew recovery should an issue arise. “Defence has supported US Navy reviews into physiological episode management and investigation with a NASA independent review team hosted at RAAF Base Amberley in May 2017.

“Defence also has an engineer embedded full-time in the US Root Cause and Corrective Action Integrated Project team.”


Lockheed Martin Australia’s new head office has been officially opened in a newly outfitted building in Canberra’s parliamentary triangle, close to its main customer, the federal government and Defence. The official opening was performed by Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne who said Lockheed Martin was a great partner with the government in defending Australia and building up local defence industry. “Our relationships is one of over 70 years, a mature relationship, an equal partnership,” he said. Mr Pyne said that included the F-35 Lightning II fighter, combat system integration for the Future Submarines, Aegis combat system on the air warfare destroyers, Aegis combat system on Future Frigates, and the Navy’s Romeo helicopters. The Minister said Lockheed Martin directly employed 800 Australians, with another

3,200 indirectly employed. “We do all these things of course because we need to protect Australia’s national interests. We want to be a good partner to our great ally the United States, we want to have a forward defence capability in our region from India to North Asia and right across the South Pacific. We take our role in this part of the world very seriously,” he said. Lockheed Martin Australian chief executive officer Vince Di Pietro said the new office was where they planned to stay. “In this building what we have is a very clear enunciation of what we mean by being partner of choice for the future,” he said. Mr Di Pietro said the company’s many projects were more about partnership than specific products. “To be able to effect partnership in a positive way and to make a really positive difference in provision of the best equipment possible for our young women and men in the defence force, you do need to be partnering with a great number of people because no single company has all the answers.”


Australia’s Project AIR 5431 Phase 3 Civil Military Air Traffic Management System, or OneSKY, has been taken off government’s Projects of Concern list after the signing of final contacts by Airservices Australia, Defence, and Thales to build the joint civil and military air traffic management system. The $1.2 billion project, which aims to replace the currently separate civil and Defence air traffic management systems under a single program, was placed on the Projects of Concern list in August 2017. However, Minister for Defence Marise Payne said on Monday OneSKY would be taken off the list following the execution of the final contacts. “This project will replace


the ageing military air traffic management systems and is essential to ensuring our ADF can continue to operate safely in Australia’s airspace,” Minister Payne said in a statement on February 26. “As a result of reaching this important milestone, OneSKY will be removed from Defence’s Projects of Concern list.” “It’s probably the biggest development in the safe management of Australia’s skies since aviation began in this nation,” Airservices Australia chief executive Jason Harfield said in a statement. The federal government named Thales as the successful supplier for OneSKY at the 2015 Avalon Airshow. Since then, Airservices Australia has been negotiating with the company ahead of signing formal contracts, with some preliminary work undertaken via a series of “advanced work orders”. Its February 26 statement said substantial progress had already been made. “In 2017, we commenced installation of the first phase of the new Voice Communication System, which will be commissioned later this year,” Harfield said. “We have also completed the system requirements review in January, which means Airservices, Defence and Thales have a common agreed understanding of the system’s requirements.” Defence and Airservices Australia are jointly funding the OneSKY project. Negotiations between Airservices Australia and Thales had become increasingly protracted, and an Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report published in April 2017 suggested Australia could end up paying too much for the project. Parts of the new OneSKY system are expected to be operating this year, with the full operating capability expected in 2023, two years later than the original 2021 completion date. Thales Australia chief

executive Chris Jenkins said OneSKY was a large and complex project that required the highest levels of safety and security. “Both Airservices and the Air Force are to be commended for their rigorous approach, fully defining the system requirements, acceptance criteria and schedule ahead of contract signature,” he said in a statement. “This is best practice for a complex critical infrastructure project such as OneSKY.”

ENGINE COMPONENT FAILURE LIKELY CAUSE OF RAAF GROWLER FIRE Engine component failure has been identified as the most likely cause of the catastrophic engine failure and subsequent fire onboard an RAAF EA18G Growler at Nellis AFB on January 28. The aircraft was taking off for a famil flight over the Nellis Test & Training Range in preparation for the commencement of Exercise Red Flag 18-1 when, as it approached rotation speed, it suffered what Defence has described as a “malfunction”, with the crew forced to conduct a high-speed abort. The two crew stayed with the aircraft until it came to rest off the side of Nellis’s eastern runway, and were able to climb out of the jet and get clear of

the rapidly growing fire. “The highly trained aircrew responded to the emergency situation and performed a ground evacuation,” a Defence spokesman told ADBR on February 27. “The Directorate of Defence Aviation and Air Force Safety (DDAAFS) Accident Investigation Team (AIT), working in cooperation with the United States Navy, have carried out engineering inspections that indicate the most likely cause is an engine component failure.” As a result of the right hand side engine’s failure, the RAAF placed an operational pause on all F/A-18F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler flying on January 30. Both aircraft types, operated by 82 Wing, are powered by GE F414 engines. “Following continued technical analysis and data processing, the Operational Pause on 82WG aircraft was lifted on 1 February 2018,” the Defence spokesperson said. “82WG Super Hornet aircraft recommenced flying at RAAF Base Amberley on 5 February, and the EA-18G Growler resumed flying at Nellis Air Force Base on 8 February 2018.” No power or weight restrictions were placed on the Growler fleet following the lifting of the operational pause, the spokesperson confirmed. ADBR understands the failure may be attributed to

an issue which is restricted to a relatively small number of engines. However, “As the investigation is still ongoing, Defence cannot comment on the specifics of block build engines,” the spokesperson said. “The RAAF fleet of F414 engines are interchangeable between the Growler and Super Hornets. Further investigation including the development of actions on specific engine components is continuing. “ACG (Air Combat Group) has determined that operating certain engines can be carried out within extant and appropriate risk profiles. The 82WG fleet returned to normal operations using these engines.” Damage to the Growler looks to be extensive from the limited number of images seen so far, particularly on the starboard fin, stabiliser, and rear fuselage. While Defence has yet to make a formal recommendation to government on the aircraft’s fate, it is believed the aircraft will likely be deemed a writeoff.


Saab has signed a $24.2 million contract with ASC to supply an updated Integrated Ship Control Management and Monitoring System (ISCMMS) for four of the RAN’s Collins

RAAF Growlers on the Nellis AFB ramp for Red Flag 18-1. A preliminary investigation has determined that engine component failure likely caused a fire on takeoff on January 28 which resulted in one of the aircraft being extensively damaged. defence



Saab will supply a new integrated ship control management and monitoring system (ISCMMS) to ASC for the RAN’s Collins class submarines. defence

class submarines. Saab says the ISCMMS provides manoeuvring and fully integrated ship management of propulsion, trim, power generation and ship services, and that deliverables under the contract will include updated hardware and spares to addresses obsolescence issues. “Saab Australia carried out design, software and hardware development work for the updated ISCMMS during the first stage of the project and this contract acknowledges the success of that work, rolling out the upgrades to the remaining submarines in the fleet,” Andy Keough, Managing Director of Saab Australia said in a statement. “Saab’s design and production work has been carried out in Australia involving over 50 Saab and local subcontractor staff.” Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne said in a separate statement, “I congratulate Saab on their technological advancement and also thank ASC for their work integrating this upgrade into HMAS Collins.” “Technological developments keep Australia at the forefront


of Defence capability, help keep our personnel safe and ensure they have the right equipment to carry out their duties in the defence of the nation.” Stage One of the project has already seen an updated ISCMMS software load and new hardware delivered to ASC for integration into HMAS Collins. A second boat will be equipped within a year, with the remaining two to follow in 2019 as they complete their maintenance cycles.


Lockheed Martin Australia has taken delivery of the first two Australian F-35 deployable facilities manufactured by Newcastle-based Varley Group. The two units are part of the Deployable Duty Facility/ Deployable ICT Facility Mission System, and are the first of 29 to be manufactured by Varley Group as part of a three-year contract. Lockheed Martin Australia says the delivery represents a key milestone in the delivery of capabilities critical to the

operation and sustainment of Australia’s F-35A fleet, and the company will complete a technology fitout of the two deployable facilities locally. One unit will house ICT equipment used on deployment, while the other will provide a facility for duty personnel and mission planning. Following the fit-out and subsequent acceptance by the RAAF, they will be deployed to Luke AFB in Arizona to support all operations and maintenance of the first two RAAF F-35A aircraft planned for delivery to Australia in December 2018. “As 5th generation technology design pioneers, Lockheed Martin is uniquely placed to understand and meet the sustainment requirements of the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft; the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter,” Lockheed Martin Australia Chief Executive, Vince Di Pietro said in a statement. “The RAAF’s deployable facilities will play a critical role in supporting operations and maintenance activities for the F-35A aircraft; predictive prognostic and mission support requirements in the realisation of a truly networked and integrated Australian Defence Force.”

US NAVY ISSUES RFI FOR USMC F/A18 RADAR UPGRADE The US Navy issued a request for information (RFI) on March 20 to industry for

the integration of an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system with US Marine Corps F/A-18C/D ‘classic’ Hornets. The new radar would replace the current AN/APG-73 system – which is facing obsolescence and sustainability issues – on 84 of the Marines’ classic Hornets in seven squadrons of 12 aircraft each. “The AN/APG-73 has been subject to ongoing maintainability, supportability, and readiness issues,” the RFI states. “AESA solutions are required due to the increased reliability and sustainability requirements, as well as the associated capability improvements.” Apart from capability improvements in range and target discrimination, AESA radars have fewer moving parts and are therefore far more reliable. The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) says the new radar should require no changes to the Hornet’s current radar interfaces, and that integration work would commence in the 2020 to 2022 timeframe. At least two companies are expected to respond to the RFI – Northrop Grumman with its AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam radar (SABR), and Raytheon with its AN/ APG-82(V)1 Raytheon Advanced Capability Radar (RACR) which is a scaleddown development of the Super Hornet’s AN/APG-79 AESA.

The AN/APG-82 Raytheon Advanced Capability Radar (RACR), seen here fitted to an F-16, is one of two contenders for a USMC classic Hornet AESA radar upgrade RFI. RAYTHEON

DEFENCE + INDUSTRY GALA AWARDS The Defence + Industry Gala Awards return to the National Convention Centre, Canberra on Wednesday 1 August 2018. Featuring the Essington Lewis Awards – recognising excellence in defence projects – the evening will be hosted by celebrity MCs Rove McManus and Claire Hooper. This black tie gala event is not to be missed!

Interested in supporting this premier defence event? Corporate support packages are available via our website.

DEFENCE + INDUSTRY CONFERENCE The Defence + Industry Conference is a key Defence and industry collaboration event. Thursday, 2 August 2018 will see Canberra’s National Convention Centre come alive with informative, thought-provoking presentations from Defence and industry leaders along with Q&A sessions and networking opportunities.

STAY INFORMED For more information visit au/casg/dplusi or email defenceandindustry.

Defending Australia and its National Interests


Rheinmetall Boxer selected for LAND 400 Phase 2


heinmetall Defence Australia’s Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV) has been selected to fulfil the Australian Army’s $5.2 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 requirement. The selection was announced on March 14 after the National Security Committee (NSC) of Cabinet met to consider Defence’s recommendation of the Boxer to replace the ASLAV ahead of BAE Systems’ rival AMV35 CRV. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Defence Minister Marise Payne and Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne and Chief or Army LTGEN Angus Campbell made the winning announcement at Brisbane’s Enoggera Barracks. The three-year competition was hotly contested, with the two main contenders mounting compelling capability and industrial cases for their contenders. While both vehicles are reported to have met Army’s requirement, the Boxer’s superior capability and protection for its crew and passengers won out over the lighter and nimbler AMV35. In making the announcement, Prime


BY ANDREW MCLAUGHLIN Minister Turnbull said, “As one of the troopers said to me just a moment ago: ‘This is about lethality and survivability, this is about capability and protection’. The Rheinmetall Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle brings that all together. “This is all about capabilities. This is a decision based on the capability of the vehicle both in terms of lethality and survivability. So, this is a decision taken absolutely on the merits. By the way, it was a very, very clear choice, unambiguous.” Rheinmetall will now enter in contract negotiations with the Commonwealth, with deliveries expected to commence from 2020. The projected $5.2 billion is well above even the upper end of the projected $4bn-$5bn cost range quoted in previous Defence and government documentation, including the 2016 Defence Integrated Investment Program (IIP). In a statement released on March 14, CEO of Rheinmetall AG Armin Papperger said, “It is a privilege for Rheinmetall to have been selected by the Australian Government to deliver this landmark military vehicle program. “The program, one of the largest in the

history of Rheinmetall, will continue our successful partnership with the Australian Government that has been delivering the latest generation of military trucks to the Army.” Rheinmetall’s global head Vehicle Systems Division, Ben Hudson added, “We are honoured to have been chosen by the Australian Government at the conclusion of the rigorous Land 400 Phase 2 selection process. “I must pay tribute to the Rheinmetall team and our Australian partners that have contributed to Land 400; their tireless dedication over the last three years will ensure that the Australian Army receives a vehicle that allows them to fight, survive and win on the battlefields of today and tomorrow.” In total, 211 CRVs will be acquired, 14 fewer than the originally stated 225 vehicle requirement. Rheinmetall will manufacture the first 25 vehicles in Germany while it trains its Australian workforce, and the remaining 186 will be assembled at a new Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) at Redbank near Ipswich in Queensland. Rheinmetall has identified more than 40 suppliers from around Australia for

LAND 400

its Boxer bid, including MILSPEC and Bisalloy from New South Wales, Supashock from South Australia, NIOA and Penske from Queensland, Direct Edge from Tasmania, Supacat, Tectonica and Cablex from Victoria, and Hoffman Engineering from Western Australia. Ministers Payne and Pyne said up to 1,450 jobs in every state would be created during the development, manufacturing and sustainment phases of the project. “Over the 30-year life of the vehicles, Australian industry will secure two thirds, or $10.2 billion, of the total investment in acquiring and maintaining the fleet, creating up to 1,450 jobs right across Australia,” a March 14 joint statement reads. Of those, some 620 jobs will be sustained on an ongoing basis from 2022 through to the Boxer’s projected life of type in 2053. “Rheinmetall is working with more than 40 companies across Australia, ensuring the delivery of these vehicles will be a national enterprise,” the Ministerial statement added. “This project will create jobs across Australia, including 330 in Queensland, 170 in Victoria and 140 in New South Wales during acquisition. “Government is also spending about $235 million to upgrade facilities in Puckapunyal and Bandiana in Victoria, Adelaide, and Townsville and Enoggera in Queensland, where the vehicles will be used.” The Boxer and AMV35 were shortlisted for LAND 400 Phase 2 in 2016, and each supplier was required to provide three vehicles for a comprehensive Risk Mitigation Activity (RMA), contracts for which were signed with both bidders in August 2016. The RMA saw two of the three vehicles delivered to Defence for use during the test and evaluation (T&E) program, while the third remained under each tenderer’s respective control to be used for integration activities.

The one-year T&E program focused on several key operational aspects of the vehicles, including: »» Survivability and the effectiveness of the protection offered against threats such as underbelly blast and ballistics firing, with ballistic testing, and blast testing where one of the each of the vehicles was subjected to a simulated mine/IED strike. »» Integration of battle management systems and radios provided as government-furnished equipment. »» Lethality effects of weapon systems, including accuracy and weapon effects analysis using certified ammunition types. »» User trials that cover transportability, human factors, egress, ingress, tactical suitability, configuration and environment. »» Vehicle performance, mobility, reliability, availability and maintainability, operational capabilities and limitations in electromagnetic environments, hot and wet environments, challenging terrain, and integrated logistics support. The T&E program was performed in parallel with cost and capability tradeoff assessments, the development of the bidders’ Australian Industry Capability (AIC) plans, and schedules and contracts intended to enable the development of options differentiated by capability level. Analysts tell ADBR that, in much the same context as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Boxer will be so much more than a simple replacement for the ageing ASLAV. Not only is the new vehicle hardened against most threats, it will offer unparalleled levels of situationalawareness across the land domain through the use of advanced sensors and networked communications. Earlier bidders for LAND 400 Phase

2 which were not shortlisted included General Dynamics Land Systems which had teamed with Thales Australia and Kongsberg to offer the LAV(CRV), and Team Sentinel led by Elbit Systems of Australia with the Sentinel II. Proposals from Raytheon Australia and French company Nexter with the Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie 2 (VBCI 2), and Boeing and Italy’s Iveco/Oto Melara offering of a variant of the Freccia IFV weren’t formally bid. Speaking to ADBR in 2016, Army’s Head of Modernisation and Strategic Planning MAJGEN Gus McLachlan said of the shortlist, “The two (were) successful, down-selected consortiums because they are both multi-player consortiums. “Both very astutely worked out that it had to be something real, it had to be able to be touched, it had to be able to be delivered to Australia to be tested, but it also had to be something that was upto-date technology,” he added. “We are delighted that what we are getting in that case is the best representation of what is available today, but without excessive risk. And I will be honest with you, more often than not Army should be closer to MOTS than potentially some of those more strategic systems.” Speaking at the March 14 announcement, Chief of Army LTGEN Angus Campbell endorsed the selection of the Boxer. “I am absolutely delighted at the vehicle that the Army is going to receive, the decision that has been made,” he said. “It is an outstanding addition to Army capability and a quantum leap forward in our capacity to prosecute the mission given to us by our Government and to take care of our people in doing so. I look forward to a long and very productive relationship between Army, Defence and Rheinmetall as we use these vehicles and develop the capability over the coming decades.” The Boxer is so much more than an ASLAV

replacement. Like the RAAF’s F-35, it offers new levels of survivability and situational awareness. DEFENCE

MARCH/APRIL 2018  13

P-8A IOC The RAAF’s P-8A Poseidon maritime ISR capability achieves IOC


he RAAF Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime ISR capability has achieved an initial operational capability (IOC), some five months ahead of schedule. The milestone was announced by Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne at the RAAF 2018 Air Power Conference in Canberra on March 20. “Together the P-8A Poseidon and the future MQ-4C Triton aircraft will provide Australia with one of the world’s most advanced maritime patrol and surveillance capabilities,” Minister Payne said. “The P-8A is a very capable and effective successor to the AP-3C Orion, which will soon retire from the role after nearly 40 years of distinguished service.” Chief of Air Force AIRMSHL Leo Davies added, “The arrival of the P-8A has allowed Air Force, under Plan Jericho, to develop and evolve new operating concepts, support arrangements and sustainment options. These will best exploit the P-8A’s sensors and networking as part of integrated Navy and Air Force integrated Maritime Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Family of Systems.” “These will best exploit the P-8A’s sensors and networking as part of integrated Navy and Air Force Maritime Intelligence, Surveillance and



Reconnaissance Family of Systems,” he added. “The acquisition of the P-8A represents a $5 billion investment in Australia’s maritime patrol capability and along with the MQ-4C Triton, will be a very capable and effective successor to the AP-3C Orion.” The MQ-4C is to be acquired under Project AIR 7000 Phase 1B, and Gate 2 is reportedly up for consideration by the National Security Committee of Cabinet in the next few months. Australia had long favoured the 737-based P-8A to replace the Orion, having joined the US Navy’s then Multimission Maritime Aircraft development programme in 2007 as a minor partner. But it wavered in making a full commitment due to budget constraints until 2014. By most measures, the P-8A acquisition under Project AIR 7000 Phase 2B has been a model project. The P-8A was formally selected in February 2014 to replace the Lockheed AP-3C Orion in RAAF service. At that time eight P-8As were approved with an additional four options. The February 2016 Integrated Investment Program (IIP) revealed that, “seven additional aircraft [will] be acquired in two tranches to bring the total to 15 aircraft by the late 2020s.” Subsequently, approval of an additional tranche of four P-8s was announced by

Minister Payne at the 2016 Air Power Conference in Canberra to take the total potential fleet to 15, although only four of those have been contracted to date. While the other three P-8As remain on the options list, it is believed an announcement is due soon. RAAF P-8A crews commenced training with the US Navy at NAS Jacksonville in Florida in March 2015, and were embedded with US Navy training squadrons pending the delivery of the first RAAF aircraft. The first RAAF P-8A flew from Boeing’s Renton 737 manufacturing facility near Seattle in May 2016 before being fitted out to P-8 configuration at nearby Boeing Field, and it was delivered to Australia and officially welcomed in November 2016. Currently six P-8As are in service with the RAAF Edinburgh-based 11SQN, while 10SQN still operates the AP-3C. Most of the AP-3Cs are scheduled to have been retired by the end of 2019, although the two specially configured electronics intelligence ‘Project Peacemate’ aircraft will remain in service until replaced by the Gulfstream G550-based L3 MC-55 in 2022. It has not yet been revealed whether the 15 P-8s will be retained within 11SQN or split across it and 10SQN, nor which unit will operate the MQ-4C Tritons and MC‑55s when they arrive from 2022.


Ivan Zlabur First Assistant Secretary, Joint Systems, CASG

Major General Marcus Thompson, AM Deputy Chief – Information Warfare, Joint Capabilities Group

Register now For more information please contact: All Occasions Management 12 Stirling Street, Thebarton SA 5031 Phone: +61 8 8125 2200 Email:


MARCH/APRIL 2018  15


Defence exports in Australia’s national and economic interests


arlier this year the Prime Minister announced an ambitious plan aiming to see Australia’s defence industry become a top ten global exporter within the decade. Almost immediately, some commentators were making unfavourable comparisons between this plan and the long history of taxpayer support for the car industry. Such criticism is fundamentally misguided, failing to acknowledge the findings of a bipartisan 2015 report of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (JSCFADT). The report found that some elements of defence industry are vital to Australia maintaining a sovereign ability to secure our national and economic interests. A “fundamental input to capability” (FIC) is how the 2015 First Principles Review categorised those parts of industry that are essential to maintaining the ability to make sovereign, risk-based decisions about our defence force equipment. The JSCFADT report also found that these elements of Australian industry cannot be sustained solely on the basis of ADF procurement. Export markets are needed to carry key industrial capabilities and the corresponding workforce across the fluctuation in domestic demand. Achieving export sales, by definition, also means that the product is among the best available in the international market. This pursuit of internationally competitive intellectual property (IP) in critical areas means that (the) Australian Defence Force (ADF) benefits from companies remaining at the cutting edge of technology and military capability. The Government therefore has an interest – an obligation, even – to identify those elements of industry which are fundamental inputs to defence capability. Once identified, the national interest is served by using all available means – including domestic procurement programs and support for exports – to enhance and sustain them. This is the purpose of the Sovereign Industrial Capability



Assessment Framework described in the 2016 Defence Industry Policy. Taking a whole of Government perspective requires a ‘systems engineering’ approach to identifying and then investing in each element of a sustainable sovereign defence industry base. It is a poor investment to help a company design and build an outstanding

piece of military equipment, if preventable commercial barriers preclude a sale to the intended customer. The uncertainty associated with defence sales – covered by international obligations such as the 2014 Arms Trade Treaty and often subject by foreign governments to ‘national interest’ considerations – is one such barrier. Commercial lenders can be reluctant to underwrite an Australian company in such circumstances. Additional funding for EFIC is a logical step to ensure that companies providing important industry capabilities to Australia are able to compete in these often complex foreign markets. Unlike offsets or other subsidies, assistance to facilitate defence exports is not just about job creation. The primary purpose is to ensure that those aspects of industry which Defence has identified as essential, are there when they need them. This is real ‘value for money’, which gives the best assurance that defence equipment – over its entire operational life – will be serviceable when needed, in a configuration which is operationally effective, and at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers. The export strategy builds on the 2015 JSCFADT report, the First Principles Review and the 2016 Defence Industry Policy. These recognise that a healthy industrial base, able to retain a highlyskilled workforce in key areas is a crucial enabler to securing Australia and our interests. The report of the JSCFADT can be found at Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/ Foreign_Affairs_Defence_and_Trade/ Defence_Industry_Exports/Report Senator Fawcett is the Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. Prior to his Parliamentary role, he served for 22 years in the Australian Army as an experimental test pilot, graduating from the UK’s Empire Test Pilots’ School, and as Commanding Officer of the RAAF Aircraft Research and Development Unit at RAAF Edinburgh.

A FRIGATE FOR THE FUTURE OF AUSTRALIA This is Fincantieri’s commitment to the Future Frigates program

This is the frigate that creates a lifetime of opportunity for a skilled Australian workforce. This is the frigate that transfers technical expertise to build an Australian export industry. This is the frigate to defend Australia that is advanced, agile, modern and ready. Fincantieri Australia is dedicated to the vision of building Australia's naval and shipbuilding industry beyond the SEA 5000 program.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER  17 fincant ieriaust ra l i2017 a . co m


BAE Systems Australia wins 10-year JORN upgrade contract BY ANDREW MCLAUGHLIN


AE Systems Australia has been awarded a contract valued at $1.2 billion to upgrade and support Australia’s high frequency over the horizon (OTHR) Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN). The 10-year Project AIR 2025 Phase 6 contract award was announced on March 5 by Defence Minister, Senator Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne at the JORN Coordination Centre at RAAF Edinburgh. The network has two operational radar sites located at Laverton in Central WA (Site 1) and Longreach in Queensland (Site 2), while a research site which has operational capabilities is located near Alice Springs (Site 3). All three sites are controlled from the JORN Coordination Centre at Edinburgh. The Phase 6 project will see key elements of the revolutionary systems re-designed including the incorporation


of an open architecture backbone and new technology insertions. BAE Systems has partnered with Raytheon Australia, Daronmont Technologies and RCR Tomlinson to deliver the upgrades and to maintain the capability. BAE Systems will leverage work it has done for the US Government’s fourth-generation multi-channel digital HF network for the JORN Phase 6 upgrade. In addition, more than 20 Australian SMEs will participate in the supply chain to ensure broader Australian industry participation and a strong focus on innovation to support the upgrade. BAE Systems’ Joint Open Innovation Network (JOIN) will also focus on activities to support the upgrade of JORN and the development of future JORN and intelligence surveillance reconnaissance capability. The Company has committed to contribute up to $10 million to the initiative that involves partner universities


to support the creation of new Defencefocused courses and targeted research and development. “The JORN Radar System is testament to the ingenuity, dedication and collaboration of Air Force operators, Australian scientists and Australian Industry over more than 50 years. It represents world leading technology that is unmatched by any other country,” Minister Payne said in a statement. “This project will significantly re-design the JORN Radar capability and deliver on the Government’s commitment to ensuring our strategic advantage into the future as outlined in the 2016 Defence White Paper.” Minister Pyne added, “The upgraded JORN system will be 100 per cent designed, developed and delivered in Australia, by Australians. BAE Systems will take Australian Defence science and technology research advancements from the lab to the operational environment.” BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive, Gabby Costigan, added, “As a world leader


in High Frequency radar technology, we are proud to have been selected to deliver an important upgrade to Australia’s most complex and critical Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance capability. “Together with our partners, we are committed to ensuring a high level of Australian industry and academic participation in JORN. Our collaborative approach will allow for the application of rapidly developing technology to ensure Australia maintains a capability edge and superior situational awareness to ensure our northern approaches are secure.” The JORN network is Australia’s first comprehensive land and air early warning system. It not only provides a 24-hour military surveillance of the northern and western approaches to Australia, but also serves a civilian purpose in assisting in detecting illegal entry, smuggling and unlicensed fishing. JORN can trace its origins back to high frequency research conducted in the 1950s. According to the Defence Science & Technology (DST) Group, the technology first exploited research into the ionosphere at the Weapons Research Establishment, and later the ‘Jindalee’ high frequency OTHR became a core research project in 1970 to provide surveillance across Australia’s northern sea and air approaches. Unlike traditional radars which are limited by line of sight, the Jindalee project uses the ionosphere above the earth’s surface to ‘bounce’ HF radio signals off. Signals are beamed from a terrestrial transmitter towards the ionosphere, and are refracted down towards the surface well over the horizon. The echo from an airborne or surface target is reflected back along the same path as the outgoing signal to a separate receiver site, and data is processed into real-time tracking information. The first experimental Jindalee A radar was constructed at Alice Springs in the mid-1970s, but this was modestly powered and had a narrow field of detection. But even in these early days, the system had the ability to detect aircraft and later ships at long ranges. Jindalee B was developed in the 1980s, offering more power, a wider 60 degrees of arc field of regard, a track-while-scan capability, and an advanced automatic frequency allocation system. In 1986 the first operational Jindalee C radar was handed over to the RAAF, and in 1991, the Commonwealth awarded Telstra an $860 million contract to design and construct the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN).

After some developmental pain, Phases 3 and 4 of the operational Defence network were formally accepted by the RAAF in 2003. This saw the two operational radars in Laverton and Longreach achieve IOC, while the original Jindalee research radar at Alice Springs continued to be operated as a separate system by the RAAF. The latest Phase 6 follows on from Project AIR 2025 Phase 5 which was completed in 2014 and which saw the system substantially upgraded and better linked into the ADF’s network, and the Alice Springs site fully integrated into the operational JORN network. In April 2016 Defence released a request for tender to BAE Systems Australia and Lockheed Martin Australia for the Phase 6 upgrade, and the announcement of the winning tender had initially been anticipated as early as last year’s Avalon

Airshow, but was delayed to “late 2017 or early 2018”. As part of its bid, BAE Systems established its Joint Open Innovation Network (JOIN) initiative which is designed to drive research, development and innovation in defence technologies. When established, the company claimed it would contribute up to $10 million to 2026 to establish JOIN to support new university engineering scholarships, and internship and undergraduate industry placements, and that the initiative would involve the creation of new defence-focused courses, and targeted research and development. To this end, in December 2016 the company announced that the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia would be foundations members of JOIN, and these were followed in February 2017 by Flinders University. DEFENCE

MARCH/APRIL 2018  19

BUILDING BLOCKS! The US Navy commits to the Super Hornet Block III BY ANDREW MCLAUGHLIN


he United States Navy has awarded Boeing a US$73m (A$94m) contract to begin extending the service lives of its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft. The service life modification (SLM) upgrade is a key element of the Super Hornet Block III enhancement package, and will see the aircraft’s airframe life extended from 6,000 hours to more than 9,000 flight hours. The SLM enhancements are subtler than the invasive centre barrel replacement (CBR) program undergone by hundreds of US Navy and Marine Corps, Canadian and Australian F/A-18A-D ‘classic’ Hornets last decade. The centre barrel is comprised of three key structural members in the Hornet’s centre fuselage to which the aircraft’s engines, intakes, wings, forward fuselage, and main undercarriage are mounted. When new, initial projections were that the classic Hornet would have a 6,000 hour life of type, but when they were opened up to conduct mid-life upgrades and inspections, it was determined that many aircraft may only go as far as 4,500 hours. Subsequent testing by Australia’s DSTO on centre barrels removed from the first RAAF aircraft to be modified revealed Australia’s Hornets were not experiencing the same fatigue and corrosion issues as those of the US Navy’s carrier-borne jets, so the RAAF’s Project AIR 5376 Phase 3.2 CBR program was capped at just 10


aircraft instead of the originally planned 49. Instead, more subtle ongoing corrosion prevention and fatigue maintenance will be undertaken until retirement. Despite their structural similarities, the Super Hornet has not been afflicted with the same centre barrel fatigue issues, and instead can be extended using less invasive structural enhancements. While details of the SLM upgrade weren’t revealed, they reportedly include various structural doublers, new material components, and corrosion inhibitors applied across key structural areas of the aircraft. “SLM modifications are focused on specific airframe locations required to strengthen for the aircraft to meet new life goals,” Boeing F/A-18 and EA-18 Program Manager, Dan Gillian told ADBR. In a statement in late February, Boeing SLM program director Mark Sears said the initial focus of the SLM program will extend the life of the fleet from 6,000 to 9,000 flight hours. “But SLM will expand to include Block II to Block III conversion, systems grooming and reset, and O-level maintenance tasks designed to deliver a more maintainable aircraft with an extended life and more capability,” Sears added. “Each of these jets will fly another 10 to 15 years, so making them nextgeneration aircraft is critical.” Boeing has previously pitched the SLM process as an ideal time for the US Navy to begin the incorporation of other

proposed Block III enhancements for the Super Hornet. “The (US) Navy plans to upgrade Super Hornets that come into SLM to Block III aircraft in addition to extending its life from 6,000 to 9,000 hours,” explained Dan Gillian. “SLM will start incorporating Block III capabilities in the early 2020s. “SLM is the perfect time to add in Block III, because the Navy can add in capabilities via new buys off the production line and SLM, exponentially increasing the amount of Super Hornets in the fleet with next generation capabilities to stay ahead of the future threat.” According to Gillian, the Block III upgrade package includes: • Enhanced network capability with a system that adds a new Distributed Targeting Processor-Networked (DTP-N) computer, network throughput via the new Tactical Targeting Networking Technology (TTNT), the addition of SATCOM, and much greater sensor integration. »» Longer range and low drag with shoulder-mounted conformal fuel tanks. »» Enhanced situation awareness with a new Advanced Cockpit System featuring new 10” x 19” large screen cockpit displays. »» Improved signature with low observable shaping and coatings. »» And the addition of existing Super Hornet ‘Flight Plan’ elements such as the AN/ASG-34 ‘IRST21’ Block II infrared search and track sensor


mounted in the front of a centreline external fuel tank, and APG-79 AESA radar upgrades. The IRST was the first adopted element of Block III, when a US$89m (A$113m) contract was awarded to Boeing last May for the integration of the sensor to the jet. Other elements planned include the integration of the Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures (IDECM) Block IV EW suite (IB-4) which replaces the Super Hornet’s AN/ALQ-214(V)3 jammer with the new (V)4, and optical fibre wiring to support new sensors and weapons. The TTNT and DTP-N are said to be where some of the real advances will come for the Super Hornet, providing sensor fusion and secure comms with other systems on a par with 5th generation aircraft like the F-35. And with TTNT and DTP-N already funded by the US Navy for the EA-18G Growler, development and integration risk for these systems onto the Super Hornet should be low. “DTP-N is a big computer that is more powerful than current offerings,” explained Gillian. “And TTNT is a big network pipe. With a big computer and a big pipe, you can do fusion on your aircraft and pass information back and forth across various platforms. The DTP-N lets you crunch all that data, and the TTNT lets you share it.” It’s likely the DTP-N and TTNT integration will allow the Block III to integrate with the US Navy’s Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) network which is a real jointforce force multiplier. NIFC-CA will allow securely networked aircraft to identify and provide targeting solutions for shiplaunched missiles over the horizon and over land, against fixed and mobile surface and airborne targets. The first SLM Super Hornet is expected to be inducted into Boeing’s St Louis factory in April, while new-build aircraft incorporating the SLM enhancements and the first Block III upgrade elements will begin rolling off the line by the end of the year. The proposed FY19 budget provides a requirement for 110 new-build Super Hornets out to FY23 as part of its Future Years Defense Plan, all of which will be in the Block III configuration. At this stage, no decision has been taken by the US Navy on whether it will upgrade its original Block I Super Hornets of which there are about 136 aircraft, many of which have been assigned to secondary training and air-to-air refuelling duties. The Block I has a structurally different forward fuselage structure, and is fitted with the older AN/APG-73 radar. But even then, the potential number of aircraft to be upgraded is huge. Boeing

told us that the US Navy program of record is 769 F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft, comprising 136 Block I Super Hornets, 160 Growlers and 437 Block II Super Hornets, plus the 24 Australian Super Hornets and 12 Growlers. On top of that there are 24 additional jets in the US FY18 budget which is still yet to be passed, and 110 in FY19. The main key visual difference of the Block III Super Hornet will be upper fuselage conformal fuel tanks, or CFTs. In late February the US Navy awarded Boeing a US$219.6m (A$279m) contract to develop the CFTs for the Super Hornet airframe, covering the “design, development, test and integration” of the conformal fuel tank. Boeing first proposed the shouldermounted conformal fuel tanks for the Super Hornet as one of a number of upgrades for the jet, as part of what it would later call the Advanced Super Hornet, at the 2010 Farnborough Airshow. They are designed to increase the combat effectiveness of the Super Hornet and Growler through the addition of auxiliary fuel without the usual penalties of drag and the loss of wing and fuselage weapons stations. In 2013, the company flew a Super Hornet demonstrator fitted with aerodynamic mockups of the tanks, along with other proposed Advanced Super Hornet improvements, some of which have evolved into the Block III. That testing validated the aerodynamic performance of the design and showed that CFTs would increase the Super Hornet’s combat radius by up to 130nm, for a total combat radius of more than 700nm. The US Navy added conformal fuel tanks to its EA-18G Growler ‘Flight Plan’ in 2015, but until now this had not been funded. The CFTs have a combined fuel capacity of 1,600kg (3,500lb) – slightly less than a Super Hornet’s 480gal/1,817L external tank. But the CFTs do not increase the aircraft’s subsonic drag, and increase transonic drag only equivalent to carrying the centreline tank. With some internal fuel system

plumbing changes the CFTs were designed to be retrofittable to existing aircraft. “It is obviously a change to the outer mould-line of the aircraft and we have to add some new plumbing under the skin,” said Gillian. “While the war fighting benefit is huge, it’s a fairly straightforward change from an engineering perspective.” The RAAF is likely to be very interested in the CFTs and other elements of the Block III upgrade, especially as, when acquired, Australia undertook to stay in “lock-step” with the US Navy’s Super Hornet and Growler upgrade ‘Flight Plans’. Now that the Super Hornet is no longer considered a bridging capability for the RAAF and will instead likely serve a nearly full life-of-type, many or all of these Block III elements will come into play if Australia stays on the US Navy’s upgrade path. For Growler, the US Navy’s Block II program is still being defined, but some elements of the Super Hornet Block III program will be shared. “Given that the Block II Growler is a Navy-led activity, questions (are better directed to) the US Navy,” Gillian said. “I can say that the Block II Growler will build on the existing Growler Flight Plan with Block III Super Hornet features like CFTs and the Advanced Cockpit System.” Australia certainly sees much potential for enhancing the Growler over the longer term, with the 2016 Defence Integrated Investment Program roadmap of Defence capability spending providing some $5-6 billion in funding for upgrades to the electronic attack system. Boeing is playing it safe on any questions about any RAAF interest in Block III. “Right now, our focus is on developing capabilities that support a Block III delivery to the US Navy by the end of 2020,” said Gillian. “Australia is a valued partner and we have kept the RAAF up to speed on the Block III capabilities. Should the RAAF elect to upgrade their SH fleet, we will be happy to support.”

(Opposite page) A notional Block III F/A-18E equipped with CFTs and IRST flies in company with a Block II F/A-18F. (Below) The Block III’s 10”x19” Advanced Cockpit Display. BOEING

MARCH/APRIL 2018  21


The Australian JSF program head puts some local context on the annual US Director of Test & Evaluation (DOT&E) report BY ANDREW MCLAUGHLIN


s the December arrival of the RAAF’s first F-35A in Australia nears, the Pentagon’s Director of Test and Evaluation has filed his annual report to Congress which has again criticised the performance of the multi-national JSF program. With some 280 F-35s of all variants now in service or test and with several key program milestones recently achieved or due to occur in the next year, the DOT&E report was a timely return to reality with a thud for the JSF Program Office (JPO), prime contractor Lockheed Martin and its industry team, and for partner nations. The report was tabled in November and covers the period from May 2016 to June 2017. In summary, it highlighted several key areas of risk in the program, including but not restricted to: • Continuing risk to the schedule to complete the System Development and


Demonstration (SDD) phase and to start the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E), meaning the program will be unable to commence IOT&E with a full combat capability (Block 3F software load) until late 2018 or early 2019. • Continued delays in completing Block 3F mission system development and flight testing, and Weapons Delivery Accuracy (WDA) events. • Further delays in completing the GAU25 gun testing for all three F-35 variants. • Continued shortfalls and delays with the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), and late delivery of ALIS version 3.0 which is at risk of slipping into mid-2018. • Continued low aircraft availability, especially for the early production lot IOT&E aircraft. • Delays in providing simulators in the Block 3F configuration. • And, other “significant, welldocumented deficiencies” for which the

program has no plan to fix and verify during SDD. The Australian F-35 program head Air Vice-Marshal Leigh Gordon has been keeping a close watching brief on the DOT&E report’s findings and the JPO’s response to it. “In reality, we look at the report to confirm what we already know,” he told ADBR. “We’ve got Australians embedded in the operational test team and embedded within the JPO monitoring what occurs there and the status of these things, and they’re contributing to the test plans that the Director of Operational Test & Evaluation approves as part of the activity. “So, we look at the report to say, ‘Okay, is there anything new in here that we don’t know about?’,” he added. “And as with previous DOT&E reports, we’re quite comfortable that it captures issues that we know about, their status, and how they’re working through those.” Encouragingly, most of the issues raised




appear focused on the JSF program rather than on the aircraft’s capabilities. Indeed, due to the period the report examines and the roughly six months it takes to compile, some of the issues identified may be as recent as six months, or as old as 18 months. “Some of it might be 18 months old,” AVM Gordon said. “But I also expect that the freshest information could be more recent. For example, the last report made reference to the GAO (US Government Audit Office) report on the supply chain which I think was tabled in the second half of last year. But certainly, it takes a while to process through the system so it’s not necessarily current.” AVM Gordon said that the concerns DOT&E has over slips in the program’s IOT&E schedule hasn’t yet affected Australia’s service introduction schedule. “We’re still fortunate in having our planned IOC (initial operational capability) scheduled for December 2020, which allows the cooperative program enough

time to address any significant issues,” he said. “Indeed, some of the comments in the DOT&E report actually represent capabilities that we’re adding for FOC (full operational capability), not IOC.” One of the key capabilities for the RAAF at IOC is the Block 3F mission system software load. Block 3F has been a long time coming and has been phased in to various parts of the F-35 fleet in incremental stages, but system development and design (SDD) of 3F is due to be complete soon. “I know that there are some comments in the report about limitations on weapons,” AVM Gordon said. “We’re expecting that the next software load that gets fielded, and it’s very, very close to fielding, will remove the vast majority of those limitations. “It’s actually worth reinforcing that, a few years ago we were actually considering that Block 3i might have been the software load that we took to IOC,” he added. The initial Block 1A/1B software load provided sufficient capability to conduct initial training and flight test work, while Block 2A added additional training modes, incorporated communications and sensor modes, provided higher security levels, and a broader flight envelope. Blocks 2B and 3i provided the “initial warfighting capability” as adopted by the US Marine Corps on their F-35B IOC in 2016, and only differed in the hardware they were hosted on. Block 3F will have 100 per cent of the planned “full warfighting capability” software coding, and will provide more weapons options, more integrated sensor fusion and more datalinks, and embedded training. “We’re very confident that it’ll be 3F,” AVM Gordon explained. “We’ve got to go backwards for it not to be 3F now, so 3F will be the software load we take to IOC. “Going to IOC with Block 3F (instead of 3i) represents, I think, a significant element of risk being remediated from the original approval,” he added. “But, like any program and, even with in-service aircraft you find issues, and you’ve got to work through them and solve them. I’m given comfort by the way that the joint program is identifying these issues, putting them to bed, and moving on to the next issue. “I certainly get a sense from the report this year of quite a constructive relationship and a constructive approach coming out of the DOT&E directorate over there. I think we do need to get through the OT&E where we can be assessing the aircraft against more contemporary threats, and then flowing what we learn back into the continuous capability development cycle – that’s the really important piece. The

quicker we can do that, the quicker we can start that drum beat. “I am particularly pleased that they’ve started doing some initial testing events,” AVM Gordon continued. “The deployment of a number of aircraft to Alaska for cold weather testing recently is, I think, really quite positive.” Apart from the Alaska cold weather tests over the northern winter, USMC F-35Bs from VFMA-121 and USAF F-35As from the 34th Fighter Squadron deployed late last year to the western Pacific for extended deployments, with the USMC embarking six of its F-35Bs aboard the LHD USS Wasp in early March for the type’s first operational ‘cruise’. “I talked to the Deputy Commandant Aviation of the Marines at my last meeting round, and he was certainly comfortable with what the aircraft are doing over in Japan,” AVM Gordon explained. “I think it’s a good indication of the maturity of the capability that they’re able to do that deployment.” The DOT&E report also highlighted affordability as being an ongoing issue for the program, in particular sustainment costs and high aircraft unavailability due to a lack of spares. AVM Gordon agrees affordability remains a work in progress, but adds that Australia is contributing to the search for solutions. “We have contributed to the build-up of a global support system,” he said. “Indeed, we’ve sent some experts in performance-based contracting over to work with the JPO to outline what our latest thinking is about how the system gets into contract and how that performance flows down. “There is a lot of focus on the cost of ownership of the F-35, and certainly everybody wants to understand it and see it reduced. The current program manager, Admiral Winter, really is attacking the cost of ownership of the F-35 down three fronts – development, production and sustainment, and in each of those they have war rooms that look at the cost and they’re targeting particular areas looking to reduce them. “They’ve set cost reduction targets for the US Marines and the US Air Force that we’re trying to understand how it would apply to us,” AVM Gordon added. “One of the things that I’ve been doing personally, is trying to understand how different it is from a classic Hornet?” AVM Gordon said the F-35 in many ways is more maintainable than the classic Hornet, and that its systems are also more reliable. “For example, the canopy on an F-35 tilts forward so they can just pull the ejection seat out,” he explained. “If you take MARCH/APRIL 2018  23

Caption. usaf DEFENCE

the ejection seat out of a classic Hornet, you’ve got to take a canopy off, and when you put it back on you’ve got to shim it into place and then do pressurisation testing. That’s just a simple example of a task being easier.” But the F-35 is a far more complex ‘system’ than the Hornet, with its advanced communications and sensors, most of which are embedded and integrated into the aircraft, as opposed to be carried in pods like many of the Hornet’s systems. “That in itself is going to drive the level of complexity,” he explained. “Plus, the F-35 also has ALIS, this bigger IT footprint, is certainly something that’s different to a classic Hornet.” ALIS, or the autonomic logistics information system, is considered by many to be the ‘long pole in the tent’ in terms of remaining risk to the program, a fact which the DOT&S identified as a major risk to the successful completion of SDD. According to Lockheed Martin, ‘ALIS integrates a broad range of capabilities including operations, maintenance, prognostics, supply chain, customer support services, training and technical data. A single, secure information environment provides users with up-todate information on any of these areas using web-enabled applications on a distributed network. ALIS serves as the information infrastructure for the


“In reality, we look to the report to confirm what we already know.” AVM Gordon


F-35, transmitting aircraft health and maintenance action information to the appropriate users on a globally-distributed network to technicians worldwide.’ JPO director Vice Admiral Mat Winter has also identified ALIS as an ongoing issue, telling a media roundtable in late February that the system’s software has a large number of bugs which are giving indications of faults on parts that are actually fine, and thus was automatically ordering unnecessary new or replacement parts. “Sustaining that fleet requires the appropriate spare parts, trained maintenance personnel, and the systems and the tools to be able to do that maintenance,” Winter said. “Likewise, we need a strong supply chain and supply base that can do well as generate new parts for spares and new parts for production.” Vice Adm Winter added that the issues appear to be more prevalent on early build jets where availability was sometimes below 50 per cent, and that later build post-Lot 9 jets were seeing much better availability. He said he expected the bugs to have been worked out in the ALIS Block 3.0 release due soon. With six jets now flying and another four or so due to be delivered this year, the RAAF has two Lot 6 F-35s in service


– AU-1 and AU-2 – both of which are undergoing depot level maintenance including hardware and software upgrades to bring them up to the latest Block 3F standard. “From the data I’ve been able to look at, the more recent aircraft availability is better than the early aircraft,” AVM Gordon said. “So, a Lot 6 aircraft is better than a Lot 2 airplane. The GAO report identified half a dozen courses of action to address, improving reliability of some parts, standing up the maintenance depots, actually buying the spares in a smarter way rather than buying them to the Lot builds, and a few things like that. AVM Gordon added that measures are already being put in place to better support Australia’s small but growing fleet, and that the RAAF’s five F-35As at the Luke AFB ITC probably enjoy better than average availability rates. “We’re keen to minimise the likelihood of poor supply chain performance impacting our flying, particularly in those first two years when we’re back in Australia,” he said. “We don’t have many airplanes and they’re doing some important tasks, so we need to be able to fly them most times when we want to fly them to tip that ramp up.” Referring back to ALIS, AVM Gordon

“The jet in itself is smarter. In a lot of instances it will tell you what’s wrong.” AVM Gordon

half-jokingly said the F-35 “is the first capability where you’ve got to have a sustainment model for the sustainment system.” “The jet in itself is smarter,” he said. “In a lot of instances it will tell you what’s wrong. That’s where we want ALIS to go as a system, to be better at that prognostics and diagnostics. So, we’re expecting ALIS 3.0 will drop sometime this year, and that will certainly be supporting us in deploying our aircraft back to Australia in December. I don’t believe 3.0 will represent everything we expected in ALIS out of SDD, so there will need to be further iterations of ALIS. “But we can go to IOC with ALIS 3.0 if necessary,” he said. “The system has a huge amount of potential. If I think about the existing logistics systems that we have within Air Force and there’s a whole lot of training management functionality as well – this is all integrated in ALIS. The tool is already more capable than anything that we’ve got, but we can all see the potential of it. The F-35 has been designed from the outset to be more supportable than 4th generation aircraft and associated systems. “Getting better aircraft health and usage information out of ALIS will allow us to make better decisions,” AVM Gordon said. “So, we certainly need to evolve ALIS as the aircraft

RAAF F-35 maintenance training will move from Luke AFB to RAAF Williamtown in 2019. DEFENCE

MARCH/APRIL 2018  25

RAAF pilot training in Australia will intially start with two trial courses with experienced pilots at 2OCU in 2020, before a “more representative course” is delivered in 2021. DEFENCE

evolves in order to realise its potential. I’m keen for us to be looking forward with that long-term view of where ALIS is going, and I think it’ll be a great asset.” AVM Gordon also address sovereignty concerns over ALIS which surfaced last year, where Norway had reportedly expressed concern over the security information of its F-35A operations. “All of the partners are putting a gateway in to both protect the system and to control the flow of data across those networks,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the joint gateway being provided out of the project, and we’re closely monitoring that. “We’re also looking at where we can partner with other nations to leverage off their gateways if they develop an individual one. The cooperative program gateway will maintain configuration with the weapons system as it evolves, and it’s important to get that in place. Certainly, we’re very keen for that to be squared away by IOC.” The RAAF will also need to manage the different configurations of its F-35A fleet as they come into service. With 72 jets


spread across seven or eight Lot builds, there will be different configurations of hardware and software spread across the fleet in the first few years of service. Apart from the original two Lot 6 jets, the next eight aircraft are Lot 10 builds, then there will be another eight in Lot 11, 15 F-35As in Lot 12, another 15 in Lot 13, a further 15 in Lot 14, and then nine in Lot 15. “We’ve actually got the first one of the Lot 6 jets into the Ogden Centre depot at Hill AFB (in Utah) now being taken up to the 3F standard, which means it has a number of modifications including structural that will allow it to get to the 8,000 hours lifetime.” The depot upgrades are expected to take about 19 weeks per aircraft initially, but this timing should come down markedly as corporate knowledge builds, and as later build aircraft requiring fewer modifications enter the depot rotation. “We expect that we will be going through that modification process across the life of the platform,” he said, adding, “And interestingly, we don’t just have

to focus on the airplanes and the lots that they’re in. It’s also important to be managing the simulators, ALIS, and the reprogramming lab to all be consistent with the aircraft’s configuration as well.” In order to manage aircraft configurations, the JPO is reportedly looking to change the F-35’s modernisation approach to make it a more rapid and seamless process, although the plan appears to lack definition. “The JPO talks about this Continuous Capability, Development and Delivery, or C2D2 process,” AVM Gordon explained. “I see one of the benefits of that is more rapid changes which focus more on software drops than hardware, and that will make it easier for us to manage the configuration as we ramp up. “Certainly, it’s something that’s important for us to keep on. Right at the moment though, we recognise that our aircraft are going to be in different lots and we’re making provisions for when we expect upgrades would have to occur. “I think that’s the continuous capability,


development, and delivery will be that battle rhythm for the life of the capability,” he added. “The block for capabilities that people have talked about before, we want to deliver those through a C2D2 approach that just keeps continuing. “Being an engineer, I want to make sure that reliability and maintained ability get folded in, improvements to ALIS get folded in, improvements to reprogramming. It’s going to be this cycle. The Super Hornet has a spiral upgrade path, and we want to capture the essence of that on a platform that’s probably a bit more complex.” With the Block 3F capability expected to be what Australia achieves IOC with and will likely take through to FOC, the partner nations are already on the path to defining what capabilities Block 4 and beyond will entail. But, like Blocks 2 and 3, instead of being one massive drop Block 4 will likely again be an incremental one. “We’ve already started to exercise that process of capturing requirements and prioritising them,” AVM Gordon explained. “That’s how we ended up with what the requirements would be for Blocks 4.1 and 4.2. On the way into the process it’s got to go through the system’s engineering

Part of the validation & verification trial will be the F-35A’s ability to operate from Australian and overseas remote locations. DEFENCE

process and have the changes designed. “If we go to the C2D2 type approach, then some of the capabilities will come earlier,” he added. “Our FOC is December 2023 so it’s in that ballpark, but there might be some things afterwards and there will be things earlier. Indeed, we might have the discretion to contribute to the mod being developed, and then make a choice when we deploy it in our aircraft. We might have the ability to do that.” In the meantime, the first major task for the RAAF F-35 team when the jets return home in December will be to conduct

its own OT&E, more properly known as validation & verification. “In broad terms, we initially need to verify and validate that we can operate the aircraft in Australia and do all of the things around operating the aircraft locally,” AVM Gordon said. “Being able to manipulate it on ALIS, line it up with mission data falls, do all those sorts of things.” After that, the RAAF will run one or two pilot courses locally to test and refine the courseware and structure, before starting local pilot training. “We’ll start looking at how we’re going to train the aircrew here,” he added. “Air Force will initially conduct a course with students who are quite competent to work through how the system will work, and then they’ll do another course which will be more representative of the real course that will be delivered from 2021. “My little clock on the wall tells me how many days it is until that day in December when the first two jets arrive,” AVM Gordon said in closing. “This year is a really busy year to get to that point, and then the next two years are the important ones where we actually build our capability.”

AVM Gordon has a date in December this year clearly marked on his office wall when 3SQN brings the first F-35As home for verification & validation testing. ANDREW MCLAUGHLIN

MARCH/APRIL 2018  27


Can the IAI Heron TP tip the AIR 7003 scales in its favour?


n June 1982, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) scored one of the most lop-sided victories of recent military history, shooting down more than 80 Syrian aircraft and obliterating air defences in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in around two hours. There were no Israeli casualties. This was probably the biggest air battle since WW2, and in some quarters has been referred to as the ‘Great Bekaa Valley Turkey Shoot’ in reference to the ‘Great Marianas Turkey Shoot’ of June 1944, when US Navy pilots shot down some 400 Japanese aircraft for losses of around 30 of their own aircraft. The Israeli victory was a triumph of imaginative planning and effective execution. Considering how well Syrian and Egyptian air defence systems had performed in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, this underlined the superiority of a new paradigm of integrated western air combat and ISR systems over Soviet cold war equipment and doctrine. And for the first time, The Bekaa Valley



battle also showcased a new and promising technology – the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). First generation Israeli UAVs, the Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) Scout and the Tadiran Mastiff played a central role in this battle, initially conducting reconnaissance to plot disposition of Syrian SAMs and other forces. In the opening round, Israeli UAVs imitated combat aircraft, prompting Syrian radars to switch on and reveal their positions for anti-radiation missiles. Then UAVs provided real-time updates as the battle unfolded. Although Israel had used UAVs since the mid-70s, this was a clear demonstration of their utility in high intensity conflict of the type which could have erupted between western and Warsaw Pact forces during the Cold War, and plenty of people took notice. From these early days, Israel has substantially improved its indigenous UAV capability through a diverse range of aircraft. Meanwhile, Afghanistan showed a very clear need for UAVs to support ground

operations for the ADF. In short order, the Australian Army initially employed Insitu ScanEagle and then RQ-7 Shadow 200 UASs, while the RAAF took on lease three IAI Heron 1 UAVs flying more than 27,000 hours for Australian and coalition forces. The RAAF retired its Heron 1 fleet in June 2017, leaving a gap of four or more years in which it will have no organic UAS capability. But while the Heron 1s are gone, another unmanned equipment of Israeli origin remains in ADF service. Even though Army’s Shadow is built by American company AAI, it was developed from the RQ-2 Pioneer, a joint design of IAI and AAI. And now IAI is pitching the latest and most advanced member of the Heron family to Australia for AIR 7003, the much larger and longer-ranging Heron TP. AIR 7003 seeks to acquire a mediumaltitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for support of future defence operations. And perhaps most significantly and certainly


likely to attract the most controversy, in a first for Australia the AIR 7003 UAS capability will be armed with air-toground missiles or precision-guided bombs. The 2016 Defence White Paper outlines the requirement for an armed UAS, saying the government will introduce enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability “including armed medium-altitude unmanned aircraft in the early 2020s” with regular capability upgrades to follow. “The new medium-altitude unmanned aircraft will provide enhanced firepower and ISR support to a range of missions including counter-terrorism missions overseas, while augmenting our surveillance capability for search and rescue, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and other tasks,” it says. The 2016 Defence Integrated Investment Plan (IIP) cites a program timeframe of 2018-2038, and a price tag of $1-2 billion. Defence has been heading down this path for some time. The ADF is familiar with surveillance UAVs and has had plenty of exposure to coalition armed UAS on operations in Afghanistan by contributing to their tasking. As well, Australian soldiers on the ground have been the beneficiaries of their intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and

strike capabilities. RAAF personnel have trained in and been embedded with USAF General Atomics (GA-ASI) Reaper units since 2015, and have participated in Reaper missions as both air vehicle and sensor operators. That has certainly led to suggestions that the RAAF would prefer Reaper. For its part, Defence has given no clear official indication on how it plans to proceed, particularly whether this will be a single source acquisition or a competitive evaluation of the contenders. But there appear to be just the two contenders – GA-ASI with its Reaper/Predator series of armed UAS (see ADBR Jan-Feb 2018), and IAI with Heron TP. When on the record, Defence says only that it is considering a range of options for the future ADF capability to be delivered by AIR 7003. “No decision on which system will be acquired has been made,” a spokesman said. But it is well known there is a clear preference within the RAAF for the Reaper/Predator. IAI would obviously like to know just where Defence is going on this procurement. Zvi Feldman, senior assistant to the IAI Military Aircraft Group general manager, said IAI had already talked to Australian firms about possible partnerships. “But they would not like to be disclosed because there is no RFI set yet,” he old ADBR. “We are waiting for the RFI

to establish these relationships. We have had communications with Defence.” IAI unveiled Heron TP at the Paris Air Show in 2007, and it entered service with the Israeli Air Force (IAF) in 2010 where it is known as the Eitan (Ethan). IAI is also close to signing a contract with the German Ministry of Defence, while the Heron TP is also being considered by other nations including India. The Heron TP is a big air vehicle, with wing span of 26m (86ft), compared to 16.6m (55ft) for the familiar Heron 1, and 20m (66ft) for GA-ASI’s Reaper. It features a similar twin-tail boom design of Heron 1 and other Israeli UAVs which IAI says has advantages for optimal location of antennae and landing gear, leaving the fuselage and wings clear for mission payloads. Its payload is substantial – the fuselage can carry 450kg (1,000lbs) internally and 550kg (1,120lbs) on external fuselage and wing hardpoints. The powerplant is a 1,200shp Pratt & Whitney PT6A‑67A turboprop, and the system has an automatic taxi, takeoff and landing capability. The Heron TP can use its satellite datalink to land on remote strips, with no need for a control station or pilot to be present at the remote location, and its publicly released endurance is greater than 30 hours.

A Heron TP (Eitan) test article showing its size next to the test crew. Compare this image with that of the Heron I on the following page. IAI

MARCH/APRIL 2018  29

The Heron TP can employ 2,200lbs of precision-guided munitions from a fuselage bay and hardpoints. IAI

Understandably, IAI won’t talk about weapons capability of Heron TP which it says is a matter for the Israeli MOD and the IDF, both of which are reportedly reluctant to comment on Israel’s use of armed UAS. Therefore, there is remarkably little publicly available information about the weapons able to be carried and employed by Heron TP, although the militaryedge. org website claims it can be armed with the Tamuz, a long-range version of the widely used Spike anti-tank guided missile. But whichever UAS the ADF acquires, it will likely want to arm it with weapons already in its inventory and those of its allies. That would certainly include the

AGM-114 Hellfire missile, and the GBU-12 laser, GBU-38 GPS, or GBU-54 dual-mode guided versions of the 500lb Mk82 bomb. Heron TP is controlled by a standardised new-generation workstation, from which operators can perform all aircraft functions including flying and sensor operation. The station features a user-friendly interface designed to fly the mission as opposed to just flying the air vehicle. For centralised operation of UAS, IAI has created what it calls the MOIC – Mission Operation and Intelligence Centre, a new type of operations centre comprised of a series of work stations

for a commander, air vehicle and sensor operators, and intelligence officers. The basic mission fit on Heron TP is electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) sensor, radar, communication intelligence (COMINT) and electronic intelligence (ELINT) packages, and satellite communications, most of which have been developed by IAI subsidiary, Elta. IAI is wholly owned by the Israeli government. The company was founded in 1953 to maintain Israeli Defence Force (IDF) aircraft, and it is now Israel’s largest defence company. Its largest customer remains the IDF, but 80 per cent of its earnings come from exports. Sales in 2016 amounted to US$3.6bn ($A4.63bn), and the current order book backlog stands at approximately US$11bn (A$14.1bn). IAI has a diverse range of activities, including aircraft and systems, UAVs, missiles, radars, ground robotic vehicles, unmanned boats, and cyber. The company makes left and right wings for the F-35 JSF program as a direct sub-contractor to Lockheed Martin, one of just three wing suppliers, so there’s a fair chance some Australian F-35s will fly with Israelimanufactured wings. As mentioned, Israel is a pioneer of the development and operational use of military unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The Tadiran Mastiff first flew in 1973 and is regarded as the first true military

A Heron I RPA of the RAAF’s 5 Flight before the type’s retirement in 2017. IAI has a long legacy in unmanned systems design and operational use. DEFENCE



surveillance UAV, and that was followed by the IAI Scout which first flew operationally in 1981. Both Mastiff and Scout emerged from the IDF experience of the 1967-70 War of Attrition and the 1973 Yom Kippur war, when commanders expressed a desire for a capability to look into increasingly heavily defended enemy rear areas without risking expensive combat aircraft and their pilots. Feldman, said IAI now had more than 52 UAV customers who have amassed more than two million flight hours. “We have a range of UAVs from five kilograms to over five tonnes. So we deal with all kinds of UAVs for various applications. “The Heron TP has been operational with our air force since 2010 so it has gained a lot of combat experience,” he added. “Lessons learned are applicable all the time, in terms of new sensors and way of operation.” The 2016 Australian Defence White Paper requirement for armed UAS specifies data compatibility with allied systems. In practice that means US and other five-eyes nations’ systems, including their secure and secret networks. That of course is no issue for a system of US origin such as the Reaper/Predator systems, but on facevalue it could be for Israeli aircraft. IAI’s solution to this requirement is to offer Australia the Heron TP aircraft with flight control systems, and have Australian prime contractors install the RAAF’s preferred mission systems for compatibility with US requirements. Using this model, IAI teamed up with Canadian firm L3 MAS to offer Heron TP For the very long-running Canadian Joint Unmanned Surveillance and Target Acquisition System (JUSTAS) program Request for Information, with Canada to A Heron TP test article takes flight. Israel will not disclose how many TPs it has in service. IAI

IAI brought a Heron TP to the 2017 Avalon Airshow where it was parked opposite the rival General Atomics Reaper. ANDREW MCLAUGHLIN

choose its own mission systems. With that option deemed a viable solution, JUSTAS – now referred to as the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) project – is in the options analysis phase with contract award due in 2020. “We are aware of the fact that there are five eyes restrictions,” Feldman explained. “We partnered with a leading Canadian industry to be the prime contractor and system integrator in case we win, and they can manage the mission special payloads (and) the five-eyes datalink. We are offering the same concept to Australia. “We don’t see any deficiency in terms of not being part of the five eyes,” he added. “On the contrary, we can establish many jobs, maybe close to 300 people in Australia for various fields of engineering like systems engineering, aeronautical engineering, software and electronic engineers and other highly technical jobs by proposing a model where a leading

Australian company is the prime.” Feldman said IAI would transfer the system integration laboratory to allow Australia to integrate whatever capabilities were required, while some composite airframe components could also be constructed in Australia. “We will help Australia and the ADF become fully self-sufficient in these areas of technology of course,” he said. “It’s common practice with us.” For example, for the US Army’s RQ-5 Hunter UAV program, IAI worked with US company Northrop Grumman to separate flight-critical and mission systems. Feldman said UAVs are upgraded throughout their life, adding new software and more sophisticated avionics. “It is very important that the architecture of the UAV, both in mechanical and physical terms and avionics architecture terms is open for changes and upgrades. This symbolises to a great extent our UAV nature of development,” he said. Then there’s the matter of certification for operation within controlled air space. “It’s a bit of a new territory and the rules are being established worldwide,” he added. “However, IAI is an aerospace company which designs, manufactures and certifies commercial aircraft. Heron TP has been designed as a certifiable system.” To this end, Heron TP is equipped with civil TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system) and ADSB (transponder) and there’s an optional weather radar. In closing, a spokesman for IAI said it is a leading high-tech company with experience in developing the most advanced technologies in all areas of operations. “We enjoy the benefits of having the IDF as a leading client,” she said. “It’s a way to prove our abilities. Once you have an IDF-proven system, it gives you serious credibility worldwide.” MARCH/APRIL 2018  31


DOWN TO THE WIRE With the Sea 5000 Future Frigate decision believed to be imminent, we summarise the contenders BY MAX BLENKIN


he competition for Australia’s new Project SEA 5000 warships is drawing to a close, with bids in and considered, and a decision reportedly set to be announced during the life of this issue. Whatever the ultimate outcome, Australia will end up with nine advanced warships and a new high-tech shipbuilding industry which will go some way to replacing the defunct car makers. “It’s been a cracking competition,” noted one industry insider. The new vessels, termed Future Frigates, will replace the Navy’s eight Anzac class frigates which were


constructed by Tenix Defence – now BAE Systems Australia – at Williamstown in Victoria between 1993 and 2004. Two additional vessels went to New Zealand. The Anzacs started out as modestly capable vessels, termed by one former coalition government minister as “floating targets.” But they have been steadily upgraded and, now with the Australian CEAFAR radar, Saab 9LV combat system and ESSM air-defence missile, they possess a world-class air defence capability. With the first of the Anzacs reaching planned life of type in the late 2020s, the former Labor government spelled out the requirement for a new warship in its 2009 Defence White Paper.

What we needed, it said, were vessels designed and equipped with a strong emphasis on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) because of the proliferation of submarines across the region. The Navy had always possessed an ASW capability, but since the end of the Cold War and during its commitment to the prolonged Gulf campaigns, it had languished. In August 2015, the coalition government announced Project SEA 5000 to find an Anzac replacement would be brought forward, with construction of the first vessel to start in Adelaide in 2020. The Competitive Evaluation Process was to start in October 2015. But, more than just building new ships

SEA 5000

for the Navy, the government wanted to use this project as the foundations to re-establish a shipbuilding industry. So, it wouldn’t be enough for bidders to come up with a good ship – they also needed to show how they would create a whole new national capability and an enduring industry to support it. In April 2016, the government announced a shortlist of three contenders – Spanish shipbuilder Navantia with its F5000 design based on its F100/Hobart class DDGs; BAE Systems Australia with the Type 26 Global Combat ship; and Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri with a design based on the FREMM multimission frigate.

On face value, each contender has its merits. Navantia appears the lowest risk since it has already built three Hobart class DDGs in Australia, with the AEGIS Combat System integrated with an Australian Tactical Interface. But that project wasn’t without problems, and the construction ran very late and well over budget. But following reforms which saw a team from Navantia contracted to provide shipyard management services at ASC’s Osborne facility, performance has much improved and productivity on ship three is said to be approaching world best practice. The company also has a supply chain in place to support the Hobarts and other Navantia vessels such as the Canberra class LHDs and the forthcoming AORs, along with the core of an experienced workforce. BAE Systems’ Type 26 is the newest design, and is not yet in service. Construction of the first vessel for the Royal Navy started in July last year, and the British program is running about five years ahead of the SEA 5000 program. Type 26 draws extensively on the RN’s long ASW experience, and would appear to be the most capable and certainly the most modern ASW vessel of the three. The company says its wholly-digital design eliminates construction risk and will result in significant through-life benefits. BAE Systems is well established in Australia, has more than 3,500 employees, an established supply chain and a strong shipbuilding pedigree through the Anzac frigates and Canberra class LHD programs. Fincantieri is offering a version of its mature FREMM design that has been recognised to be one of the most versatile and advanced frigates in global production. Six FREMMS are in service in the Italian Navy, and another 12 are in service or in various phases of production for the navies of France, Morocco and Egypt. Fincantieri has had no presence in Australia but it is a global shipbuilding powerhouse, the largest in Europe and fourth largest in the world, building warships, cruise liners and even luxury yachts. It is offering Australia a complete shipbuilding industry based on its experience overseas plus an entrée to its global supply chain network. Already the government has made some important decisions. The new vessels will be built in Adelaide at an existing shipyard. The Commonwealth is funding development of the Techport facility where the DDGs and Collins submarines were built to accommodate the new ships and the SEA1000 future submarines. Whichever design is chosen, it will

be equipped with an Australian CEA radar, US Aegis combat system and Saab Australia tactical interface (see page 38). CEA radar and Saab combat system have proven to be a formidable combination aboard the Anzacs, while the 9LV has also been integrated aboard the LHDs, and has been designated for use aboard the new AORs and the SEA 1180 Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV). The Navy also wants the US Mark 41 vertical launch system to accommodate existing SM-2 and ESSM missiles, and likely future missiles with anti-ballistic missile capabilities such as SM-3 and SM-6. Following is a rundown on the three contenders.


Fincantieri’s global presence dwarfs any of the other SEA 5000 contenders. It is the largest shipbuilder in Europe and the fourth largest in the world, with 20 shipyards in four continents, almost 20,000 employees and 80,000 sub-contractors. The company is a leader in cruise ship design and construction. It also specialises in naval, offshore vessels, ferries, megayachts and highly complex special vessels, and repairs and converts ships, delivers systems and components production, and provides after sales services. Fincantieri is not well known in Australia, but its most prominent products – cruise liners – routinely visit Sydney and other Australian ports. Fincantieri is the world’s largest manufacturer of such vessels which range in size from luxury niche liners of 10,000 tonnes up to megavessels over 150,000 tonnes capable of carrying 5,000 passengers. The global appetite for cruising is expanding. “The margin to increase is huge,” said Fincantieri Australia chairman Dario Deste. “If you think about China, very few people have taken cruises and now they are just discovering cruise ships.” And it makes warships, so far eight FREMMs for the Italian Navy, with two more under construction. Vessel number eight, Antonio Marceglia, was launched on February 3. Last year the company also won a deal to construct four corvettes, two offshore patrol vessels and a landing ship for Qatar. Their forward order book totals 56 vessels valued at E18.5bn (A$29.6bn). For SEA 5000, Fincantieri is offering Australia a 6,700-tonne, 144-metre vessel which in Italian service is configured in two variants, one for anti-submarine warfare and one as a general-purpose warship. Deste said FREMMs are the backbone of the Italian fleet and are a well-proven MARCH/APRIL 2018  33

FREMM will already be somewhat familiar to the RAN, with the Italian Navy’s Carabiniere (above) visiting Fleet Base East in early 2017, and French Navy Ship (FNS) Auvergne (below left) visiting the west coast in late 2017. Fincantieri’s SEA 5000 offering is based on the Italian design. DEFENCE

capability. Italian FREMMS have conducted counter-piracy missions off Africa and participated in the humanitarian mission rescuing asylum seekers seeking to travel from North Africa to Europe. A FREMM also successfully tracked a submerged non-NATO submarine for five days without losing it. Deste said FREMM had been designed to be extremely quiet, with internal machinery isolated from the hull. Just how quiet remains classified, but details on ship noise have been provided to the Australian Navy for the evaluation. Fincantieri engineers worked for two years just to design the sonar dome. Baseline sensors are a Thales hull-mounted sonar and Thales Captas towed variable depth sonar.


Significantly and unique amongst the three competing designs, the FREMM has dual hangars, allowing two helicopters to be embarked. Deste said Fincantieri was offering Australia entry to their vast global market. Already the company has placed a pilot order with Australian steel maker Bluescope, and has also invited expression of interest from four Australian firms for trial construction of cruise ship hull blocks. He said they wanted to create a sovereign shipbuilding capability and that he has a very precise industry plan. “We want a transfer of technology where Australia will be able to design a ship, any kind of ship. That is our commitment that is behind our offer. Fincantieri senior vice-president for naval vessels Angelo Fusco added, “We look at this program as a ramp to launch other activities. It is clear even in the wishes of the government that just the domestic delivery program cannot be long-term. We generate the possibility that the industry can be self-sustaining by opening new markets.” The Italian Navy – the Marina Militaire – have a high regard for their FREMMs. Vice Admiral Matteo Bisceglia, directorgeneral for national armaments for the Italian Navy, said he had followed the FREMM program since it started in 2003. “Right now, the only ship in the world that is state-of-the-art is the FREMM. FREMM frigates are really our pride. As an ASW ship, there is no other ship in the world,” he said. “Maybe in the future we

will have better ships, but now there is nothing.” Bisceglia said earlier Italian Navy ASW ships used a Raytheon sonar. “Now we have the Thales which is the best performing sonar in the world. The ship itself makes very little noise.” Rear Admiral Davide Berna, head of the mine counter-measures forces of the Italian Navy and veteran of a series of operational deployment on FREMMs fresh back from a deployment, said Italy needed an ASW capability to meet NATO alliance requirements, especially with an increasingly bellicose Russia deploying more advanced submarines further afield.

BAE Systems Australia

BAE Systems Australia’s SEA 5000 contender is the Type 26 Global Combat Ship, the newest design of the three. But the design program has been underway for many years, and BAE Systems says it has by far the highest design maturity they have ever achieved ahead of the start of actual production. Type 26 is a vessel designed from the outset for ASW, although it also possesses significant multi-mission capability in terms of anti-aircraft warfare, and with a clear path for ballistic missile defence. To this end, at the start of life the ship contains significant growth margins in terms of power, weight and space to allow upgrades over its life. BAE Systems Australia SEA 5000 managing director Nigel Stewart said vessel number one which is under construction

SEA 5000

in the UK is the SEA 5000 reference design, running about five years ahead of the Australian program. “We will be in production of ship three in the UK before we cut steel in Australia,” he said. “We look at the first SEA 5000 vessel as the fourth of class. It is definitely not the first of class. “Five years is an ideal overlap. It will still be a very modern ship, but the UK is going to pick up the development costs and risks in the first of class. The UK is running an 18-month drumbeat; the Commonwealth is probably going to run around a 24-month drumbeat.” Stewart said the Australian program would start with prototyping to prove the new construction facility at Techport, South Australia, with full production starting in 2022. Design of Type 26 started in the UK in 2012. This is a wholly digital process which he says eliminates the risks in embarking on construction of a new type of ship in a new yard. “It will make technology transfer to a new shipyard much easier than with traditional engineering processes.” That’s because the digital design will be a seamless process all the way through to production, integration and test. The company says the digital data set remains the single source of information, and each physical vessel source of information and each physical vessel has its own digital twin which will have enormous benefits in terms of through-life support. It says this will also allow major elements of the design to be significantly de-risked before any steel is cut. That includes complex maintenance procedures such as removal and replacement of major items such as generators. For the ASW mission, to ensure minimum radiated noise every piece of machinery is allocated a maximum acoustic budget. If a component is not within that budget, it needs to be modified or the shortfall made up elsewhere. BAE says its modern and fully integrated digital processes enable substantial maturity of design, much greater than traditional approaches, long before the first worker makes the first weld. Stewart said the new shipbuilding facility at Techport which is now under construction by the Commonwealth, would be the best or one of the best in the world. He said all construction of hull blocks and integration would be performed at Techport. BAE Systems would use its facility at Williamstown as a key capability hub for design and sustainment, and for some of the supply base. BAE Systems Australia is a significant and longstanding player in

The UK is going to pick up the development costs and risks in the first of class. the Australian defence industry. It has operated in Australia for 65 years and last year ranked number three with turnover of almost $1 billion. It now has 3,500 employees. Most recently, the company was prime contractor and also constructed superstructure for the Navy’s two large landing helicopter dock (LHD) vessels in Williamtown. As Transfield and subsequently Tenix, it constructed the 10 Anzac frigates between 1993 and 2004. “We are part of the fabric of Australia,” Stewart said. “We have been building ships through Williamstown and Tenix for 50 years. We have a proud track record in Australia and we can be judged on what we have done over the past 65 years as well as what we will promise to do in the future if we are successful on SEA 5000. “We understand the supply base very well,” he added. “We have a wellestablished set of Australian suppliers and over the past six months, we have engaged nearly a thousand people in supplier roadshows around the country.”

Stewart said the SEA 5000 program wasn’t just for construction of nine warships. “The tender is to be a partner to the Commonwealth for continuous naval shipbuilding over a 40 to 50-year period. The first part of that is delivering nine ships. “We are not just approaching this in terms of ‘here’s our design’, it is far more than that. It is how do we deliver nine ships in a partnership and how do we leave significantly more capability and intellectual property at the end of the program so the Commonwealth and shipbuilding industry can be selfsustaining.” Type 26 drew on the Royal Navy’s extensive experience with earlier ASW vessels, most recently the current Type 23, of which 16 have been produced and 13 remain in RN service. For an ASW ship, advanced sensors are crucial. Type 26 will adopt the key sensors of the Type 23, including UK variants of the Thales CAPTAS 4 variable depth sonar, Sonar 2087 Low Frequency Active Passive (LFAPS) Array and Thales

BAE’s Type 26 Global Combat Ship offering for SEA 5000 will share hull and propulsion systems commonality with similar vessels under construction for the Royal Navy. BAE SYSTEMS

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The Type 26’s multi-purpose mission deck is a key discriminator amongst the the three competing designs. It has a 15t integral crane, and can accommodate sea boats/ RHIBs, vehicles, unmanned aerial, surface and underwater systems, and overflow aircraft from the hangar. BAE SYSTEMS

signal processing, which incorporates some unique UK IP. It will also feature the next generation 2150 active passive bow sonar currently being developed by Ultra for the RN. Since Australia’s new frigates will also serve on a range of other activities besides ASW, the Type 26 has another very useful featureith its large multipurpose mission bay – essentially an open space through the superstructure forward of the hangar. The mission bay can accommodate a range of other mission equipment such as unmanned aerial and underwater systems. It could easily fit a second helicopter or several unmanned aircraft, along with tools and spares, 10 standard shipping containers with various supplies, additional accommodation, medical facilities, or even a prisoner lockup.

It could also be used for special forces equipment such as large rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) or even vehicles or disaster relief supplies, limited only by the 15-tonne capacity of the crane which permits independent loading and unloading in port.


Navantia is no stranger to Australia, and its vessels comprise a substantial part of the RAN fleet. Two large landing helicopter dock (LHD) ships are in service, the first of three DDGs is in service with the second undergoing trials and the third to be launched shortly, along with two replenishment ships under construction in Spain. For SEA 5000 Navantia is offering a version of the Hobart class DDG, and it wants to get on with the job. “We want an Of the three competing designs, only the FREMM has dual hangars, which might be a consideration if the RAN is leaning towards a large vertical UAS for Project SEA 129 Phase 6. DEFENCE


early decision, as early as is practicable so we can start real production, not some tokenism of fiddling with a few prototypes,” said Navantia Australia chairman Warren King. “I am talking about real production in 2020.” King, who oversaw the SEA 4000 Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) project which resulted in the Hobart class while head of the Defence Materiel Organisation, said Navantia knew just how long it took to establish the workforce in South Australia to build the three DDGs. “We know how long it took to get them up to a fully productive level. Any delay will only add for the potential for the workforce to atrophy.” In 2007 Navantia’s F100 design was chosen for the AWD project, but it soon encountered major problems, running more than three years late and way over budget. Just why has been extensively examined. King said there were two key lessons. One was that the designer and builder had to run the program. Although AWD was a Navantia design, shipbuilding was performed by government-owned ASC, and only following a reform program did the project start to get on track. The other lesson was that a shipbuilding workforce and the associated specialised management skills evaporated quickly. That occurred between the end of construction of the Anzac frigates in 2004 and start of construction of AWDs in 2012, a period that also coincided with the mining development boom. King said following the reforms when Navantia was engaged to manage

SEA 5000

completion of the program, it had met every revised budget and schedule with productivity approaching world best practice. Australian industry content (AIC) on the AWDs was over 60 per cent. “We are obviously going much higher than that for our (SEA 5000) tender because we have an established workforce and an established supply chain in Australia, (and) we will grow on that. I believe nobody will be able to get close to us. It is a fantastic number and deliverable. It’s based on real experience.” But with construction of DDG NUSHIP Perth approaching its conclusion, worker numbers have fallen. “There is still a good core of skills at the moment,” King said. “But it’s important to get cracking to retain that workforce, and we can. “More than individual workers, its actually workers in a team who know how to do that particular job. We have that team. We have lost a bit of the list, there is no doubt about that, but we still have the core.” Navantia’s F5000 design is about 80 per cent the same as the Hobart class, with the addition of improved ASW and some minor modifications to the hull to reduce noise, and to the structure to accommodate the CEA radar system. The Navy’s new MH-60R Romeo helicopters will form an integral part of an ASW capability, and have passed critical design review for operations on the DDGs. With the F5000 design based on the Hobarts, there is a high degree of commonality of systems including propulsion, although the generators will

be uprated. They also have the same Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) as the DDGs, LHDs, and new AORs, so a sailor trained on IPMS on one ship can easily transfer those skills to another vessel. The IPMS intellectual property has been transferred to Australia and now resides inside NSAG, a joint venture with SAGE Automation in Adelaide. This capability plus training is now being developed in Australia. King said their modelling indicated that commonality of systems would lead to multiple billions in savings in life cycle costs of the various vessels. The F5000 design has already been adapted to meet Australian design standards which covers everything from electrical wiring, hatches, ladder angles, galley and habitability, to magazine fireproofing, fire suppression and blast protection. Getting all this right contributed to the cost and schedule blowouts on the AWD project, and King said the other two contenders would have to go through this process. “Our ship is designed to the US military specifications, he said. “If Australia is going to create a competitive export industry, that puts us in a particularly good position.” To this end, Navantia is pitching variants of the Australian F5000 and Hobart designs for the US Navy’s FFG(X) program and for the Canadian Surface Combatant program. The Canadian offer features the Australian CEA radar and Saab Australia’s 9LV combat system. “If that

offer was successful,” King said, “it would be without a doubt by a country mile the most significant Australian defence export ever.” King said it was potentially very easy for the shipbuilding industry to end up looking like social welfare. “We have to be international best practice. Not only do we have to deliver the product at the best possible price for Australia but we have to be export-capable. No other country is going to take into account the social welfare benefit of buying a ship from us. “We meet and exceed all the ASW requirements,” he added. “We have the best general-purpose offering of all the frigates, full stop! We have the least risk. We believe it will be the lowest cost and the lowest through-life support costs. We have a trained workforce in Australia and a supply chain able to start tomorrow. “We went through all those teething problems with AWD. We (Navantia) get contracted in and since then it’s gone like clockwork. Why would you throw that all out?”


So which ship is best? This will be weighed up between two decisions, one military and one political – what’s the better ASW vessel for Australia, and which bid would best result in an enduring national industry with export prospects. Perhaps most tellingly, Navy Chief RADM Tim Barrett told the RAAF Airpower Conference on March 20, “I don’t expect the ninth frigate to look exactly like the first frigate that we built.”

Navantia’s F5000 shares design features with the F100/Hobart clas DDGs, but has been modified to better suit the antisubmarine warfare mission. NAVANTIA

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A BIGGER SHIELD Aegis Baseline 9 for Australia


nce the nine Project SEA 5000 Future Frigates are all in the water at the end of next decade, Australia should possess the largest fleet of Aegis-equipped vessels outside the US Navy, substantially more of the advanced vessels than operated by Japan, South Korea, Spain and Norway. From the outset, the nine Future Frigates will all be equipped with the latest configuration of Lockheed Martin’s Aegis combat system – known as Baseline 9 – while the three Hobart class DDGs will be upgraded to the same standard. This brings some very significant new capabilities, most notably a likely ability to shoot down ballistic missiles. That controversial capability will require some deep thinking and additional funding by Government, including the acquisition of Raytheon SM-3 or SM-6 missiles, or both. Currently, the first of the new DDGs HMAS Hobart, is undergoing sea trials to assess the full capability of Aegis and to train its crew on what is a vastly more sophisticated maritime combat system than Australia has ever before operated on any warship. Vessel two, NUSHIP Brisbane will be commissioned in the middle of this year, and vessel three, NUSHIP Perth late next year. The Future Frigates are further off. Government’s key decision on SEA 5000, ie which of the three competing designs will be chosen, is currently expected early in the second quarter. Construction is due to start



in Adelaide in 2020, and the first vessel will enter service in the mid to late 2020s. But Government has already made some key decisions. The radar will be an advanced iteration of the Australiandesigned and built CEA CEAFAR, now in use aboard the older Anzac frigates, rather than the US SPY-1D(V) as on the three DDGs. As well as CEAFAR and Aegis, the frigates will also be equipped with an Australian 9LV tactical interface developed by Saab Australia. “By bringing together the proven Aegis system, with a cutting edge Australian tactical interface developed by Saab Australia, our Future Frigates will have the best capability to defeat future threats above and below the surface, while also ensuring we maintain sovereign control of key technologies, such as the Australiandesigned and built CEA phased array radar,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in the announcement at the Pacific naval conference last year. Plenty isn’t yet known about how this will work, specifically, how the three systems will operate together in a vessel design which is yet to be selected. The three ship designers – Navantia of Spain, Fincantieri of Italy and BAE Systems of the UK – all say integration challenges are understood and this won’t be a problem. In a briefing on Aegis and Baseline 9, Lockheed Martin Director of Business Development for Mission Systems Neale Prescott said Aegis provided protection not just for the Aegis-equipped ship, but for other high value assets in a task force such

as the Navy’s large Canberra class landing helicopter dock (LHD) ships. “You need to have this advanced longrange surveillance and you have to be able to counter any attacks, not just on your own platform but on vessels like LHDs,” he said. Lockheed Martin Surface Maritime Program Manager Rod Milligan added that, in the very worst case the air threat could be multiple inbound missiles. “That layered defence is the security blanket cast by Aegis over not only its own ship but the task group,” he said. He said Aegis was specifically designed to track and target multiple missiles simultaneously, using either the ship’s SM-2 missiles for longer range threats, or ESSM or CIWS for ‘leakers’ or closer threats. Just how many targets can be tracked at one time remains classified. Prescott said a key feature of Aegis was that it could make a determination of the degree of lethality and immediacy of each threat. “The first one detected might be subsonic and so you’ll focus all attention there. But the next one might be supersonic, and that changes your priorities completely. “Some weapons fly unusual flight profiles,” Prescott added. “The key thing is it is dynamic in that allocation of priorities.” Milligan said Aegis made that determination on a case by case basis. “The thing that is most likely to kill you first is what Aegis is paying the most attention to. It can do that essentially simultaneously.”


The three Aegis DDGs plus nine Future Frigates would give Australia the largest fleet of Aegis-equipped warships outside the US Navy, Milligan said, thus giving Australia significant leverage into the future Aegis development process. “With Aegis ships, either you were a ballistic missile shooting ship or a surfaceto-air ship,” he said. “What Lockheed has done with Aegis Baseline 9 is to bring those two capabilities together. “You can have those capabilities simultaneously. Future Frigates will be very capable ships, (and) in the future the DDGs will likely also be brought up to Aegis Baseline 9.” That does raise the prospect that the first of the Future Frigates, intended to be anti-submarine warfare vessels, could go to sea with a more capable version of Aegis than the DDGs which were designed from the outset to be specialist air warfare vessels. Milligan said it would be reasonable for Australia to bring the DDG and Future Frigate capabilities into alignment. So why weren’t the three DDGs equipped with the latest version of Aegis at the outset? The reason goes back to the start of the AWD program. In 2004, long before construction actually started, Defence specified Aegis, with three systems acquired under an FMS deal and then placed in storage while the ship construction program was delayed due to quality control and integration issues. Those were the latest configuration then available, which was COTS Refresh 2 (Baseline 8), with the SPY-1D(V) radar and AN/SPQ-9B horizon search radar. But it’s not Baseline 9, which is a significant step forward. Government has scheduled an upgrade to the three DDGs under Project Sea 4000 Phase 6, and the Defence Integrated Investment Program says that will be run over the period 2017-28 at a cost of $4-5 billion. Prescott said it could be Defence was budgeting for a range of other upgrades to the vessels’ weapons, infrastructure and training, and other capabilities in that particular project. “The actual Baseline 9 upgrade is substantially less than those budgeting figures.” Outside defence circles in the broader community, it isn’t well understood just what Aegis does and also why it forms a significant element of the cost of each vessel. Of the $35 billion global cost for the nine new frigates, the combat system will certainly consume several billions. At its most fundamental, Aegis is the core of the ship’s overall combat system. It is a whole series of electronic boxes which receive then analyse data from sensors,

particularly the main radar, and presents it to the ship’s commander for appropriate action. Aegis itself isn’t the radar, although until now, it and the Lockheed SPY-1 phased array radar have gone together on all US, Japanese, South Korean, Spanish and Norwegian ships as well as the Australian DDGs fitted with Aegis. Aegis – in Greek mythology the shield wielded by the God Zeus – was the result of a long-running and complex development program which resulted in the first Aegisequipped vessel, the guided missile cruiser (CG) USS Ticonderoga, going to sea in 1983. That there have been nine ‘Baseline’ iterations of Aegis shows how the system has evolved, with each adding new levels of capability and complexity. Early baselines featured MilSpec computers, but Baseline 6 went to fully commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and featured significant new capabilities, including theatre ballistic missile defence (BMD) and cooperative engagement capability (CEC), the ability to network US and allied vessels by sharing threat, targeting and engagement data. Baseline 7 added the latest SPY-1D(V) radar, while Baseline 8 brought COTS and open architecture systems to older Aegis vessels, mainly the US’s Ticonderoga class CGs. Baseline 9 is a very significant upgrade, with a true open architecture computer framework which allows much easier integration of new capabilities. It also adds three major warfighting improvements: »» Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) allows aircraft such as the F-35 and Block III Super Hornet to identify and provide targeting solutions for ship-launched missiles over the horizon and over land.

Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) provides a much more versatile capability for air defence, Aegis’ primary mission. Its centrepiece is the new multi-mission signal processor (MMSP) software package. »» Enhanced BMD capability features what is called launch-on-remote (LoR) and engage-on-remote (EoR), with tracking data for targeting incoming missiles provided by remote sensors which could be on other ships or aircraft, on land or in space. That improves the capability to intercept longer-range and faster missiles. Baseline 9 features what the US Navy and Lockheed term a common-source library which permits easier, cheaper and faster integration of new capabilities. “It doesn’t matter which navy you are, it doesn’t matter what sensors and weapons, all the software elements are stored in common source library,” Milligan said. “We use a fairly ingenious system to essentially…compile a set of software relevant to your ship. “The code re-use is the important thing,” he added. “You’re not developing new code every time a new sensor or weapon comes along. There is 98-99 per cent code re-use each time.” Lockheed Martin says it has already worked with the three SEA 5000 contenders on shipbuilding projects around the world, and has no preference at all on who should win SEA 5000. “For us, what we have to be able to do is understand the specific characteristics of that ship,” says Prescott. “The shipbuilder is obviously going to be the prime contractor.” Added Milligan; “We are working with all three. Genuinely, the company has no preference. The government will make a decision and we will work effectively with whomever wins.” »»


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CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING Air Power in a disruptive world, and high-intensity warfare


asil Liddell Hart was arguably the 20th century’s finest military strategist. He described strategy in terms of ends, ways, and means, and in his book titled ‘Strategy’ became famous for “the indirect approach”. While you could say the title of his book lacks imagination, it gets straight to the point and captures the very essence of the 2018 Air Power Conference and associated Sir Richard Williams Foundation seminar. Defence conferences and seminars often promise a great deal but fail to deliver much more than update audiences on equipment programs, low value networking, and a dull consensus of ideas generated by like-minded souls talking in an echo chamber. The 2018 Air Power Conference themed around disruption and the Williams Foundation seminar on High Intensity Warfare provided an excellent blueprint for how things should be done. The perspectives from Russell Hill and visiting international Air Chiefs were integrated with those from Silicon Valley, international universities, strategic policy institutes, defence industry, NATO, and the media. The Conference and the seminar confirmed the challenges we face are global in nature, our threats have sophisticated and commercially available technology, and cyber attacks against our legitimate democratic institutions and critical infrastructure are now part of daily life for Australia and its partners. Bernard Salt provided a conference highlight, telling the story behind the statistics and the recent census, and painting the picture of who we are and what we are becoming as a nation. While the rest of the world continues to suffer the aftershocks of the global financial crisis, he explained why young Australians should be so optimistic and continue enjoying their “smashed avocados on toast”. Yet



his central message was one of warning against complacency. The Air Power Conference was brilliantly organised by Chief of Air Force AIRMSHL ‘Leo’ Davies and his team at the Air Power Development Centre. The broader RAAF family were gracious hosts and were generous with their time and engagement. Yet despite the warm generosity and professionalism of the hosts, delegates still left the events feeling somewhat uncomfortable. While the Australian Government continues to provide both a consistent policy backdrop (the ends) and some of the best military capability money can buy (the means), the challenge is now to develop the ideas and the ‘ways’ we will achieve our national objectives. As former Prime Minister John Howard has often said “context is everything”. The strategic context in which Australia and its key allies must now make their national security choices is far from ideal. The legacy of the global financial crisis lingers and, when combined with two decades of fighting counterinsurgency wars means the US in particular is configured for efficiency rather than combat effectiveness. The US is currently having to fight with what it has rather than what it needs. Recovering the posture of its high-end warfighting capability will take time, time which our adversaries have been exploiting to their advantage and, to a greater degree, dictating the terms of the fight to come. If they choose to do so, history suggests our potential and actual adversaries will seize the opportunity with both hands, and take Liddell Hart’s indirect approach.

The element of surprise

Imagine the scenario if (when?) the USNorth Korea Summit ends in stalemate. Western Governments wait for Kim Jong Un’s next move with contingency planners assuming the tripwire for a US response

being the resumption of testing for North Korea’s nuclear ICBM program. Such a course of action would clearly test the resolve of the US and its regional alliances, and allow commentators to confidently predict a plausible outcome – US air strikes on North Korea’s nuclear weapon infrastructure. Or perhaps North Korea will take an indirect approach. Rather than using the Sea of Japan as an open-air test range, Kim Jong Un’s preferred target is a remote, sparsely populated region of northern Australia where the likelihood of causing mass causalities is low. He chooses to attack at a time of year when the prevailing winds are unlikely to spread nuclear fallout to our major cities, and thereby further contain the physical effects to minimise civilian casualties. Kim Jong Un knows Australia has excellent intelligence and surveillance capabilities, but he also knows we do not have a missile defence system capable of protecting ourselves from such an attack. Nor do we have a credible means of striking back unilaterally and strategically, should we choose to do so. As well as changing the Australian way of life for ever, this scenario would provide multiple dilemmas for a US administration focused on putting “America first”. Those dilemmas would also profoundly impact the UN Security Council, with Russia and China’s immediate concern being whether or not to cease their ongoing daily cyber attacks on Australia’s critical infrastructure and public institutions. But above all, it would allow Kim Jong Un to take global centre stage without actually killing anyone. An improbable scenario? Yes. But impossible? No.

Measuring combat power

ICBM infographics more often than not portray a potential attack on Australia in terms of whether it will impact Darwin, Pine Gap, Sydney or Canberra. And while


these scenarios are extremely unlikely to the point of being almost irrelevant, the likelihood of a surprise attack on our remote northern regions is far more plausible - by an order of magnitude. Recent history has shown that our adversaries do not play by our rules, they improvise the use of weapons unconventionally, they disregard the Laws of Armed Conflict, they don’t need a traditional battlefield, and they strike when we least expect. They have studied how we accumulate our combat power and from where we derive our strategic strength, and then attack us asymmetrically. Democratic, legitimate societies based on traditional western values measure their military combat power in terms of three components: the physical, the conceptual and the moral. Put simply, the physical relates to our equipment and organisations, the conceptual our ideas and thinking, and the moral being our laws and democratically endorsed human values. It is a highly integrated trinity with the outcome far exceeding the sum of the constituent parts. Strong leadership is the glue which holds it all together, integration leverages our strengths and mitigates our weaknesses, and our populations support the resourcing in terms of volunteers and tax dollars. In the battlespace our combat power is our advantage. It fuels our intensity and attitude, and generates the will to fight day-in day-out without question for our mates and our way of life. And the way a country looks after its veterans is a preeminent KPI for its moral component. But building combat power in democratic, legitimate societies is laborious at best. The sophisticated defence decisionmaking processes get bogged down as we, quite rightly debate, consult, review, study, discuss and test the equipment, ideas and policies which characterise our combat power. We tend to focus our frustration on the acquisition process which delivers the physical component of our combat power, but the reality is far more complex than that. We ponder over the legality of armed drones, the use of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems and, in doing so, leave little time and space to consider more complex issues requiring deep analysis – like whether or not we should reconsider our position on nuclear weapons capability to reflect the changing strategic circumstances and geopolitical context. Our adversaries do it differently. They have a playbook which emphasises the physical and conceptual, with a blatant disregard for the moral component because their elitist, revisionist regimes simply

cannot design, build and sustain the moral component within a largely conscript force to underpin campaign success. They therefore attack decisively, asymmetrically and disproportionately, often with the element of surprise.

Cyber sledging

Our adversaries give indicators and warnings as they shape the battlespace to undermine our moral component to mitigate their own strategic weakness. And of course, there is the new warfighting domain – cyber – where increasingly, revisionist regimes quietly go about their business attacking legitimate institutions and critical infrastructure at the edges of the envelope of international law. Using information as a weapon, malicious attacks on hearts and minds are designed to weaken the moral component and set the conditions for operational success. Using cricketing terms, this is a form of cyber ‘sledging’. Our adversaries seek to reduce the effectiveness of our combat power by attacking our moral component and shifting the fight to one which favours their terms. And while many cricketers are immune to sledging and indeed dish it out a fair bit themselves, there is a line beyond which it becomes unacceptable and well outside the spirit of the game. Sledging in cricket is difficult to police because each team has a different line in the sand regarding acceptability in meeting their ends (winning) – it is much easier to judge an effect in the physical domain, such as deliberately altering the state of the ball. In these instances, we are quick to form judgements, and dislocation between the players, fans and leaders is near-instantaneous. It is often triggered by a lack of ideas in the conceptual domain when the opposition is in the ascendency. Information warfare is nothing new,

though terms like “fake news” are. Nor is it new to build influence through trade, especially with those who lack the economic power to meet the expectations of their growing populations. If high intensity warfare was measured in a single domain, then it would be fair to conclude that cyberspace is already deep in conflict. This must be contained.

Difficult questions

The Air Power Conference and Williams Foundation seminar provided the allimportant context for our national security debate, albeit with an air power focus. In many ways it reminded us of the importance of having a central idea about the way we approach modern warfare, and how that idea must be constantly verified by asking the right questions to stimulate the right thinking. In closing, perhaps we should give some further thought to the following: Are we thinking like a disruptor or a disruptee? Is our emerging force structure able to provide the necessary range and scale of options (offensive, defensive, kinetic and non-kinetic) to support the Government’s national security objectives? Do we have the means of Commanding and Controlling a high intensity multidomain battle? Do we need a more potent deterrent capability? Do we need an independent strategic strike capability? Do we have sufficient missile defence capability? Should Australia reconsider its policy regarding a nuclear capability? Should we tolerate ongoing and systematic cyber attacks on our democratically-based institutions and critical national infrastructure? Or should we hope everyone plays within the spirit of the game?



AIR POWER CONFERENCE The 2018 RAAF Air Power Conference was held in Canberra on March 20-21


n the two years since the 2016 Air Power conference, North Korea has come closer to fielding an intercontinental ballistic missile capability, and terror group Daesh has tried to establish a foothold in Australia’s immediate region. And according to Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne, the world has been characterised by unprecedented technological disruption which is affecting all parts of society including the military. Speaking at the opening of the 2018 Air Power conference in Canberra, Senator Payne said technology had always played a major role in Australia’s approach to national security. “We’re a large country with a small population that takes an active role in our region and globally. This presents us with unique demographic and geographic challenges and we rely on technology to enable us to defend Australia and contribute to regional security. “In what is a period of rapid challenge, we must continue to embrace the benefits of innovation, and this has a number of implications for Air Force.” Senator Payne said air power could no longer be viewed in isolation and it must be integrated. New aircraft including the F-35, P-8 Poseidon and E-7 Wedgetail


BY MAX BLENKIN would underpin the creation of a 5th generation force, allowing integration of the picture of the battlespace. But there were risks to this comprehensive embrace of technology. “Twenty years ago, our thoughts would not necessarily have gone to the need to protect our aircraft from cyber security threats. But that is exactly what we are now doing for our F35s and other aircraft,” she said. And 20 years ago, the idea of artificial intelligence as a serious consideration for national security might have been regarded as something from a Hollywood movie. “But, today in 2018, we find ourselves discussing these matters with the consideration and attention that they rightfully deserve,” she said. Conference host and Chief of Air Force AIRMSHL ‘Leo’ Davies said we are absolutely living in an age of disruption, and nowhere was this more evident than right here in the Indo-Pacific region. He said airpower characteristics of reach, speed and precision effects remained important elements of a nation’s defence strategy. “The question for us to ponder at this 2018 Air Power conference is whether we are postured to apply this significant capability in a way that counters these disruptors.”

He said more nations were investing in high-end warfighting capabilities, challenging what historically had been a western advantage. “Investments in stealth, networks, ISR and precision weapons are no longer a guarantee of capability overmatch. We now need to seek alternate solutions to reinstate a military superiority.” CAF said our Air Force was already capable, but it was now facing the greatest evolution of airpower in its history. Despite the challenges, we were not destined for war, he said. “But the complexity of the environment and severity of the possible consequences means we cannot be complacent. “In the Royal Australian Air Force, we are tackling this through our own dynamic strategy,” he said. “But we need a broad community to help us shape this strategy. We need your help. “This is my call to like-minded Air Chiefs, those of us who share these challenges and common values, to engage collaboratively in order to better understand and shape the role of airpower as an instrument of national security.” In the first day’s keynote speech, chairman of the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore Mr


Bilahari Kausikan, presented a regional perspective on some global developments viewed with alarm in Australia and elsewhere. He said both the US and China were changing and changing the world and in absolute terms both would remain substantial powers, “Simply put, the US under Mr Trump is not as bad as the American media and large parts of the American establishment, still anguishing over his unexpected victory, portrays. “China under Mr Xi Jinping is not the juggernaut that the Communist Party’s propaganda apparatus would have us believe,” he added. “This again ought to be obvious, but the obvious is clouded by the emotional shock of Mr Trump’s election and the confidence with which Mr Xi presents China’s ambition for a new era.” Mr Kausikan said the South China Sea had become something of a proxy for the contest between American and Chinese ideas for regional order, and had become a stalemate. “Nobody can make the Chinese drop their claims to almost the entire South China Sea or make them give up the artificial islands it has constructed and throw the sand back into the sea.” Beijing would certainly deploy military assets on the islands, perhaps periodically, perhaps in time permanently. “But crucially, China cannot stop the US and its allies operating in, through, and over the South China Sea without risking war,” he said. “If war breaks out, those islands and the military assets on them are only targets. “Overall the US is still militarily dominant and will remain so for the foreseeable future. China cannot prevail in a war, and a loss or even a draw will put the rule of the Chinese communist party at some risk. “Preservation of party rule is the most

Chief of Joint Capabilities, AVM Warren McDonald. DEFENCE.

core of all China’s core interests,” he said. “I doubt Beijing will gamble. The stakes are simply too high.” Switching to security at a more tactical level, recently appointed Chief of Joint Capabilities AVM Warren McDonald said Defence needed strong and sophisticated cyber defences and advanced training but that overlooked a more traditional way to improve security. “Simply we can do it by changing our attitude,” he said. “And why would you say that’s important? Because we are making it too goddamned easy for the enemy.” AVM McDonald said defence personnel needed the right security mindset every day. “A warrior would not stick a USB dongle they found in the carpark into one of their networks, but the naïve would,” he said. “A warrior would not put their password on a sticky label. The weak would. A warrior not enable the Wi-Fi on a sensitive network. A moron would!” AVM McDonald said the number of security breaches detected by red cyber teams in last year’s Exercise Talisman was simply unacceptable. “Very early in this exercise locations of named individuals and movements of units were discovered on an embarrassing scale. The most egregious act was the posting of a battle map on social media. No warrior would do that. “Not having your head in the fight sees you think that your life is so interesting that everyone else on social media should participate,” he added. “It’s like flipping the safety off your rifle and pointing it directly at the head of your best friend.” Retired Royal Navy RADM Neil Morisetti gave the audience a startling perspective of a strategic environment adversely affected by climate change. He said most everyone knew the climate was changing, with the impacts including reduced crop yields and therefore higher prices, rising sea levels, and loss of farming land. “All of these are threatening key natural resources, including food, water, and land. And it’s happening at a time when demand for those is going up.” He said that will produce a rise in intra and inter-state conflict resulting from governments not necessarily having the capacity and the resilience to look after their citizens, although climate change would not be a direct cause of conflict. “The consensus is that that’s very unlikely,” he said. “Rather, we need to consider the second and third world consequences. Climate change is a threat multiplier.” People were always moving, but with the impacts of climate change there would be more people on the move. “Without a stable world we cannot have a strong economic growth. Without a strong economy, we

Chief of Air Force, AIRMSHL ‘Leo’ Davies. DEFENCE

can’t afford security we need,” he said. “There’s a need to acknowledge that not only does a changing climate pose a risk to our national security, but it needs to be treated as a mainstream risk not a niche one. It needs to be put up there on the par with threats. RADM Morisetti said many countries recognised the threat, but not many look on it as a mainstream threat, and that analysis of this threat needed to be fed into reviews of all the other threats. “Because only then can you understand the interdependency and the relationship between the threats and establish priorities for action.” He said he first raised these issues in Australia in 2010 and didn’t receive a very positive response. But since then there had been progress including appointment of an adviser to defence chiefs. “But as elsewhere, I think there’s more that needs to be done,” he added. “I suggest there’s a long way to go before there is a universal understanding of what I’m talking about.” Former Deputy Chief of Air Force, AVM John Blackburn (Ret) said national security also depended on energy security, but was frustrated that the government took the view that this was the responsibility of industry while industry said it was a responsibility of government. He said in 2015 the government promised a new national energy security assessment, superseding the last from 2011, but that had yet to appear. AVM Blackburn said the International Energy Agency (IEA) published their review of Australia’s energy policies in February, noting that we were endowed with natural resources. But the IEA also said there were energy security issues across several sectors, the system was showing signs of stress, and energy policy MARCH/APRIL 2018  43

governance was complex and fragmented. “It also said, our country’s oil stocks are at an all-time low,” he said. “We have no strategic stocks at all and not placing any stockholder negotiations in our industry. We’re quite unique compared to developed countries. Most of them actually do this.” AVM Blackburn said he had discussed this with oil company executives, with one saying energy security wasn’t his job. Government officials said if there was an oil shortage they would just increase imports. He said other countries maintained strategic oil reserves. EU countries mandated a minimum two months supply, but Australia had none. “You need to ensure a continuous supply of flow sufficient to keep critical societal functions, and in our case military functions, operating. So, the other way you do it is you hold strategic reserves. “What is it that we know, that gives us so much confidence that we don’t have to mandate stocks, we don’t have to hold stocks, and we don’t need a refining industry, when we’re at the end of a very long supply chain? We’re 100 per cent reliant on the market and there is no plan B, if there’s a market failure, we’re stuffed.” On a more positive note, Chief of Joint Operations VADM David Johnston said speed of response to emerging contingencies was key, with an expectation that Defence could act quickly. He said disaster relief was the most common scenario, but added that, when Australia assisted in the fight against Islamic State in the siege of Marawi in the southern Philippines, an AP-3C Orion was immediately re-tasked from an over-water ISR mission. He also recalled in September 2014, there was about four weeks between the government decision to send an air task group to the Middle East, and the first mission. But he said he feared what had been learned over the last couple of decades of operations could be misleading. “We have enjoyed, generally, an uninterrupted electromagnetic spectrum. We haven’t had to worry about air superiority. Sea control when we have needed to move equipment around to various areas of operation has been inherently available to us. We’ve got to get used to working in that environment and I’m very uncertain that that is the environment that our future operations, cyber or otherwise, will be performed in,” he said. Looking ahead, Chief of Navy VADM Tim Barrett said Government planned to spend about $150 billion over the next 30 SBS TV


years on Navy capability. “But there’s an aspect to this that’s really important where I think an understanding of the broadspectrum issues of what the digital age is all about, is just as important.” VADM Barrett said it was in amphibious operations that Navy, Army and Air Force would really connect. “It is not just about the platform, it’s about the package. It’s about the ability to adapt to them all and bring a task group together, because you set the environment in which we can all work together,” he said. “It’s a matter of being able to show how each of those can be done, and it’s the transformation through the digital ages, the information we pass, which is the globe that allows us to do that.” Representing Chief of Army, Head of Land Capability MAJGEN Kathryn Toohey spoke about “the rise of the combat geek”, and the application of technology to significantly enhance the effect and reach and scale of our combat soldiers. “Given the challenges associated with the small force defending the largest continent in the world, this is a very attractive proposition,” she said. That could take years if not decades, and the requirement for combat soldiers would never go away. “But as we seek to protect, empower and support our soldiers to achieve their mission, the manner in which these dirty, dangerous, and demanding tasks are executed will change profoundly. “In the future, I believe autonomy, artificial intelligence and other fantastic scientific and engineering advancements will provide alternative ways to do many of the hazardous, difficult, and repetitive things our combat soldiers do today,” she said. MAJGEN Toohey said, more interestingly perhaps, these technologies might well allow service-minded patriotic “It is not just about the platform, it’s about the package. It’s about the ability to adapt to them all and bring a task group together, because you set the environment in which we can all work together.” VADM Tim Barrett. DEFENCE

‘geeks’ to serve in our army and perform well in many previously allied combat tasks. “Your physical conditioning, how many pushups you can do, or how much weight you can carry on your back may become increasingly irrelevant in the age of robotics and physical augmentation,” she said. Defence’s acting deputy secretary for strategic policy and intelligence, Marc Ablong said changes in our strategic environment were occurring at a rate faster than anticipated in the 2016 Defence White Paper. He said hypersonic weapons, advanced materials, autonomous systems and artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, and augmented reality were now starting to feature in the military environment. “And the fundamental question you have got to ask yourself is, ‘at what point are the very exquisite and very expensive capabilities that we are acquiring in the white paper overtaken in terms of their military comparative advantage by some of those new technologies and new capabilities?’” Another question was at what point was our strategy overtaken by new technologies or new methodologies of war. “I don’t want to leave you with the impression that we’re all doomed, or that it’s a particularly dark and bleak outlook, on the contrary.” He said every six months Defence senior leadership and the Minister sat down to assess whether strategy, capability and resources were still appropriate, and so far that has been the case. “But there is a fundamental question about how long that is going to continue to be the case, and at what point we will need to start thinking about a realignment of those three elements of strategy, capability and resources.” In closing Day One of the conference,


executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), Peter Jennings assessed whether Australia was up to the challenge of our risky strategic outlook, and whether our system would make it possible to thrive rather than just survive. He cited four threats to thriving: the Canberra consensus, with government disconnected from the realities of Australian daily life; complacency, where framers of the constitution made voting compulsory in case no-one could be bothered; overworked politicians and a political system where they spend much of their three-year terms in election mode; and an absence of long-term strategy. But he said Australia had done many things well, most recently with March’s ASEAN summit where Australia hosted nine of the 10 heads of ASEAN nations. He said Australia has also done regional stabilisation well in military interventions such as East Timor in 1996, and that a modernised RAAF is now the government’s go-to force for involvement in international military operations. “Defence does a good job on policy developments, such as the white papers,” he said. “And the government deserves a real ‘bravo-zulu’ for its recent legislation on espionage and foreign interference.” Then there are the challenges, starting with China-US relations. “The key question for Australia is what, if anything, can we do to shape US and Chinese behaviour in ways that better suit our interests,” he said. “Frankly it’s going to require a more activist approach to policy-making than we’re used to.” Other challenges include the pace of change, hybrid threats and technological change.” Mr Jennings queried whether Australia could provide regional leadership while spending just two per cent of GDP on defence. “My own view is that in time, strategic reality will turn that two per cent figure into the floor rather than the ceiling of what our defence spending aspirations should be.” On Day Two, Fergus Hanson, head of the International Cyber Policy Centre at ASPI, gave some hints about how cyber could support air operations. “An example is ‘Cyber Wild Weasel operations’.” Wild Weasel is a US vernacular for airborne systems capable of suppression of enemy air defences. He said digital AESA (active electronically scanned array) radars like those used on F-35, Super Hornet, Wedgetail and Growler, could be used in EW and cyber applications. “Given the right knowledge of adversary systems, an AESA on a Super Hornet or

“Your physical conditioning, how many pushups you can do, or how much weight you can carry on your back may become increasingly irrelevant in the age of robotics and physical augmentation.” MAJGEN Kathryn Toohey. DEFENCE

JSF opens the possibility of getting inside others’ radar systems, and making mischief by generating false signals or masking your own signature.” Adjunct fellow at the Center for a new American Security, Greg Allen said the US was the status quo military power, with the best technology across an astonishing portfolio of military capabilities. That included nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, 5th generation fighters, cruise and ballistic missiles, all of which are incredibly capable but also incredibly expensive. For the US that was good, as it had a lot of smart engineers and a lot of money. His disruptive innovation theory was frightening for the military as future technology could hinge on crappy but cheap convenient innovations. For example, the Tomahawk cruise missile costs US$1.5m (A$1.9m) each, and can deliver an explosive payload precisely at long-range. In April 2017, the US launched 60 Tomahawks against Syria from vessels in the Mediterranean. Conversely, consumer drones costs as little as $500 but are becoming cheaper and more capable every year. Islamic State used small drones in Iraq and Syria. “Militaries with incredibly high performance systems are at risk of looking at commercial technology innovations and saying these aren’t as good as what I have now, therefore they are not relevant to my mission,” he said. “What they should be thinking is the exact opposite,” he said. “These aren’t as good as what I have now but wow, they are cheap and wow, they are available to

my adversaries who cannot normally get access to these types of capability.” Mr Allen said these drones are obviously nowhere near as capable as what the US and allies were fielding. “But they are riding the consumer electronics cost and performance curve, not the aerospace cost curve,” he said. “Over the long term and even in the near term, this has the potential to reshape the foundations of global military power.” In closing the conference, Deputy Chief of Air Force AVM Gavin Turnbull said the RAAF aimed to become a 5th generation force, fully networked into joint operations and agile in thought and operational implementation. “We will develop a force by design that will provide the effects necessary to prevail against the increasingly complex and lethal threats present in the information and warfare age.” That journey started back in 2000 when AVM Turnbull said the RAAF had talked about network-centric warfare and importance of integrated operations since, but had struggled to generate the cultural mindset or technical ability to realise either. With Plan Jericho launched in 2014, this enabled the move to a 5th generation force, and he said Plan Jericho ‘2.0’ will seek to accelerate this transition by identifying and exploiting disruptive innovations to deliver capability advantages. “We needed a catalyst to create and sustain a transformational imperative,” he said. “The F-35A is that catalyst. It began as the only advanced platform on our horizon, but is now one of the many tools driving cultural and intellectual change we need. “F-35’s capacity for networking, its ability to fuse data and present information to the pilot and others on the network changes the way we must consider the kill chain and how we design and manage operations.” He said the F-35 was just one element driving this reformation. EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft were also a significant force for change. “At times Air Force has talked a good game on its use of the EW spectrum, but we never truly could master it as a combat effect that covered the spectrum of operations. With Growler that is changing now.” AVM Turnbull said Growler could be both halfback and forward, able to carve out a single slice of adversary EW spectrum, or block large swathes. “It is something that we have not had to deal with the in the past and we need to be careful we don’t shut down our systems in the process,” he said. MARCH/APRIL 2018  45

HIGH INTENSITY A report from The Sir Richard Williams Foundation Seminar, March 22 2018


or the last 15 years since 9/11, the Australian Defence Force has participated in a succession of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and the surrounding region, performing well and learning much as part of a larger team. RAAF Super and classic Hornets conducted missions over Iraq, supported by the new E-7A Wedgetail and KC-30A tankers. Previously AP-3C Orions flew electronic intelligence and other ISR missions over Afghanistan. But none of this amounted to highintensity operations; for that we need to go back to Vietnam, Korea and World War 2. This very topic – high-intensity ops with a peer or near-peer adversary, of the type that could be encountered on the Korean Peninsula or with Russia or China – was examined in the Sir Richard Williams Foundation’s High-Intensity Warfare seminar in Canberra on March 22. The takeaway was that, although the ADF is in good shape and getting better, it isn’t prepared for this type of conflict. Neither is the Australian community. Former RAAF chief, retired AIRMSHL Geoff Brown said it was 15 years since Australia first deployed to the Persian Gulf. “We need to be careful about the lessons we take forward,” he said. “In many ways as we look at the competition, they have been unencumbered by those operations. “While space and cyber are very much a part of the operational art, there are a lot of issues that we really haven’t looked at closely over the last 30-plus years.” That included issues such as facilities


BY MAX BLENKIN hardening, security of supply, capability in a chemical, biological, or radiological environment, dispersion of assets, and adequacy of stocks. “Even with us fielding our 5th-generation force, I put forward that a peer competitor would challenge us in many areas,” Brown added. Dr Ross Babbage, a former senior public servant and now chief executive of the Strategic Forum, concurred, saying, “We are not yet ready to fight a high-intensity war. We have a great deal to do to prepare.” Air power analyst Dr Alan Stephens cited the experience of the 1973 Arab-Israel conflict and the 1982 Falklands War. The 1973 war featured very high attrition of combat aircraft, with some 10,000 SAMs expended. Russia launched a massive airlift to resupply Egypt and Syria with munitions, while the US did the same for Israel, flying in some 100 aircraft as attrition replacements. “Without that resupply Israel and the Arab states could not have sustained such a high-intensity conflict,” Stephens said. Without resupply to Israel, the outcome might have been very different. In the 1982 Falklands War, Britain fought a war for 73 days some 12,000 kilometres from home, and won. The US supported Britain with intelligence and war stocks of the then latest AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. At the same time, the US cut intelligence to Argentina, while France withdrew the technical support needed to make Super Etendard strike aircraft and Exocet anti-ship missiles fully effective. Still, Argentina fired five Exocets during the conflict, sinking two British ships and damaging a third.

“With better targeting information and half a dozen more operational missiles, the Argentinians might have inflicted sufficient damage on the British convoy to compel it to turn back before it got within 100 kilometres of the Falklands,” Dr Stephens said, adding that, for Australia the lesson of those two conflicts was the reliance on great and powerful friends. “Should Australia have to fight a highintensity conflict in the next 20 years, we can be confident that the RAAF will be well trained and well equipped,” he said. “However, those attributes will be insufficient for the task ahead unless they are under-written by strong ideas, strong high commanders and strong alliances.” Dr Babbage said high-intensity operations in a major war could result in almost instantaneous attacks. “We can expect kinetic and non-kinetic strikes in very great depth. All homelands will be vulnerable. “Such a conflict in my view might be short but frankly, is most unlikely to be short,” he added. “It may last many months or even years. We have a great deal to do if we are going to be ready for this sort of conflict.” Dr Babbage said such a conflict in the 2030s could feature a new generation of ballistic and hypersonic cruise missiles, 6th generation air combat capabilities, autonomous systems, and quantum technologies. And the lead-up would feature escalating cyber and political warfare, designed to undermine allied and partner resolve and morale. Dr Babbage said Australia needed a clear strategy to win, advanced military capabilities to deter and defeat, structural


depth and resilience to recover and prevail, an industrial base to support operations, a logistics base able to operate effectively in a contested environment, defence for home bases, and space assets. “In the sort of crisis we are talking about, we are going to have to mobilise much larger elements of our societies to be an active part of the effort. That is different to the traditional mobilisation plans and concepts,” he said. “Intensive operations of the future will be significantly different to the past. Therefore, just acquiring modernised version of what we have now is not going to cut it. Former US Navy Rear Admiral Mike Manazir, now Boeing vice-president for Navy systems discussed 5th generation systems. “There is this nexus about now of how we are going to take commercial technology and apply it better than the other guy.” One 5th generation aspiration is the ‘kill web’ across multiple domains – cyber, space, land, air, sea and sub-sea – which Manazir said was easy in concept, but difficult in practice. “The concept is how do you combine all the kill chains you to have to include cyber and EW to form a web such that you have any sensor, any platform, any effector, any effect.” He said the most challenging aspect is how to use space data for a weapons quality targeting track for a submarine. “How do I get space information into a submarine, crossing all the physical boundaries, air, water down to sub-surface.” Mr Manazir said the ADF had an opportunity to be THE 5th generation force, not just one of the world’s 5th generation forces. “I see a wonderful opportunity to put the force together to

do this,” he said. To this end, Mr Manazir pointed to the need for outspoken individuals to champion innovations such as Australia’s planned integrated air and missile defence system. He cited such figures as Billy Mitchell who promoted US air power before WW2, and Hugh Trenchard, regarded as the father of the RAF. Post-war, it was figures such as US Admiral Hyman Rickover, the ‘father’ of the US nuclear Navy, and Admiral Mike Meyer who advocated for the Aegis combat system. “This stuff doesn’t just make itself happen,” Mr Manazir said. “To think about integrated air and missile defence in the Commonwealth requires somebody who is going to bang on the podium, who is going to be a champion to the government and say this is where we are going to go. Dr Stephens concurred. “Without the courageous and visionary advocacy of a few good men, and it was just a few…the allies would have lacked both defensive capability which stood alone during the Battle of Britain and the destructive which eventually shattered the enemy in the Far East.” Chief of Air Staff of the RAF, Air Chief Marshal Stephen Hillier said threats to our security and costs of defending ourselves were rising faster than at any time since the Cold War. For the UK, the immediate threat comes from Russia. Closer to Australia, many of the same concerns were being played out in relation to North Korea, while Iran’s activities in the Middle East weren’t designed to enhance western influence and security either. “These varied threats which extend beyond traditional geographical boundaries place an imperative on Air Forces to become ever more adaptable,

resilient and nimble if we are to pre-empt threats and react decisively,” ACM Hillier said. “As military planners we need to keep every moment of peace as a period of grace to use to prepare as well as we can to meet the demands of the next major conflict.” ACM Hillier said the will to fight was the first and most fundamental requirement for high-intensity warfare. Another was alliances and, for the UK, NATO was fundamental and gave the decisive advantage. “It’s something that we have that our adversaries don’t.” ACM Hillier said the UK forces had not known what it was like to operate without freedom of manoeuvre allowed by persistent control of the air since the Falklands War. But the world was changing. “Everyone is waking up to the fact that control of the air and space is now contested to a degree we have not experienced since the late 1980s. “We need to get used to the idea that in any future environment, high intensity warfare or not, control of the air is going to have to be fought for and fought hard for if we are to establish that vital freedom of manoeuvre.” He said the RAF, which like the RAAF has participated in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, is “…busier than we have been for generations but that has to be a cause for concern. “If my current force is being pushed by a sustained fight against a terrorist organisation, we have much work to do if we are to be technologically, and in processes and people and resilience and sustainability, if we are to be ready to deal with the scale and the breadth of threats which we really mean when we speak about high-intensity warfare,” he added. MARCH/APRIL 2018  47

A VISIONARY PATH Getting more out of the sum of the parts: Harnessing today’s technology to better integrate air and missile defence assets for Australia. BY BRIGADIER GENERAL KENNETH E. TODOROV, USAF (RET)


s Australia grapples with and debates the future of its integrated air and missile defence force design, it is important for policy and military decision-makers to consider the architecture that will facilitate the kind of missile defence capability the Commonwealth wishes to employ. One such vision for Australia is one in which all capabilities – offensive, defensive, kinetic, non-kinetic, active and passive – are melded into a comprehensive multi-domain capability preventing an adversary from effectively employing its air and missile weapons systems. This is the vision for future US missile defence architecture, and it may be instructive to consider a similar path for Australia, given the closeness of our two nations, past, present, and future.


Threats and partnerships

One thing is not up for debate – the threat from missile attack, both ballistic and increasingly from non-ballistic threats continues to grow. More and more, the air and integrated air and missile defence (IAMD) battlespace is becoming the most complex scene in any domain of battle. This is especially true in the multi-domain environment where the ADF operates, ideally in an integrated fashion with US forces. The future missile defence environment will be characterised by a full spectrum of air-breathing and missile threats to include ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, aircraft, unmanned systems, long-range rockets, artillery, and mortars – all utilising a range of advanced capabilities such as stealth technology, manoeuvering vehicles, decoys, and precision targeting. This ‘renaissance of missile threats’ has given rise to new problems for freedom-loving nations

around the world. What makes the issue even more complex is that adversary technologies are demonstrating more sophisticated and reliable missiles with increasing complexity, range and accuracy. The ability to develop a robust yet affordable missile defence will be challenging to say the least. This challenge is not unique to Australia of course, but is also something the US and other partners and allies in the region continue to study and debate.

The convergence of missile defence and IAMD

For years, the conversation about missile defence in the US has centered solely on detecting, tracking, and defeating incoming ballistic missiles. But increasingly, the US and Australia not only face the threat of ballistic threats, but also conventional and low radar cross-section cruise missiles and other air-breathing threats.


The graphic depicts a notional architecture with the critical components for integrating air and missile defences to enable joint, allied, and coalition interoperability. These components encompass modular and open systems approach (MOSA) architectures, cyber security, resilient communications, and operator-centric design. A MOSA-based architecture provides the capability to seamlessly integrate legacy weapon systems while providing a network systems architecture that is scalable and adaptable to facilitate the acquisition and integration of future weapons systems and sensors.

Defence planners and policy architects can no longer think about the range of the problem narrowly, but need to acknowledge that ballistic missile defence and defence from air-breathing threats must be addressed with a holistic approach. Wars are not fought in stovepipes, yet capabilities have largely been developed in that way, ignoring thoughts on how to fold in other elements of the integrated air defence equation. Future development of integrated air and missile defence systems needs to demonstrate more commonality in sensors, shooters, and command and control. Australia will be required to respond to a range of threats – missile and air – and not just one domain or the other. Historically, air and missile defence systems have been designed piecemeal, without consideration for integration within a complete architecture. Decadesold development approaches resulted

in tightly coupled weapon systems and sensors, closed systems, high engineering and sustainment costs, and lack of data sharing. These discrete closed systems have stymied attempts at true integration across a larger and more comprehensive defence solution. Additionally, technical challenges associated with creating a common, integrated air picture coupled with an increasingly complex battlespace have greatly increased the degree of muddle, thus increasing the risk of fratricide. And even more recently, concerns about the cyber threat have served to discourage efforts to integrate or make interoperable disparate systems operated by different nations. As a result, realising the operational benefits that come from integrating the warfighting capabilities of joint, allied, and coalition forces has never fully been achieved. This problem of trying to integrate disparate systems after the fact has hampered US efforts toward full multi-domain integration and lessened the effectiveness of missile defence architectures. The growing and emerging threats demand we change our thinking in this regard. Done right, Australia has a real opportunity to lead the world in developing the first of its kind IAMD fighting capability.

Towards a more integrated air and missile defence – architecture first The evolving threat necessitates an integrated missile defence approach, and modern technology means that doing so may be well within reach.

One would not endeavour to design and build a house without first planning ahead, considering the foundation, wiring, plumbing, and overall backbone for the design. Fancy add-ons and fixtures can be considered later, but to succeed, the builder must first consider desiging the blueprint. Similarly, by focusing on an ‘architecture-first’ philosophy – establishing common data links and protocols and leveraging advances in communications, computing power, networking, security, and software development – significant progress can be made toward integrating air and missile defences to create a network of any sensor to any effector. With the architecture established, the potential now exists to create a single integrated air picture shared at all levels – from national levels down to deployed ground-based air defence teams at the forward edge of the battlefield. Furthermore, there exists the ability to provide for cyber protection measures so disparate systems from multi-national MARCH/APRIL 2018  49

sources can be integrated to operate together safely and securely. This is the path being pursued by US decision makers for the US integrated air and missile defence architecture, and the merits of such an approach apply more broadly. In a complex air and missile threat environment, this federated capability can integrate track data from various air defence sensors. In Australia’s case, this includes existing maritime, air, and ground-based assets as well as new capabilities brought into the architecture either now or in the future, to create highly accurate threat tracks and a means to deal with them. In addition to the provision of a common operating picture, assimilating digitised information from multiple, disparate sources provides a suite of battle management decision aids to

facilitate effective planning and threat engagement. This synthesised picture would be published to a Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) network, and optimally paired to an effector that is most suitable for defeating the specific target. Against a specific threat such as a helicopter or cruise missile several effectors could be activated, but at varying levels of

“We’d better be prepared to dominate the skies above the surace of the earth, or be prepared to be buried beneath it.” General Carl A. ‘Tooey’ Spaatz


probability of kill and with a potentially substantial difference in cost. An agile, flexible, cooperative, ‘any sensor, best shooter’ capability, would be supported and enabled by a cyber-secure, protected, tactical communications network capable of linking multiple domains. Integrating multiple weapon systems and sensors onto a cooperative single C2 network would allow Australia to create a sovereign, fully integrated capability using existing and planned future assets. It would provide significant benefits through the incremental addition of assets over time, as opposed to the fielding of a ‘big bang’ system all at once with limited opportunity for upgrading as the threat evolves. The benefits of this modular, netcentric, cyber-secure, MOSA-based system approach in overcoming the integration, modernisation and affordability challenges of the past would be significant at the national level, and within a coalition environment. Effective from the tactical to the strategic levels, this capability would enhance the defence of Australia in a PACOM-based threat scenario by including


enabling enhanced integration with the US Ballistic Missile Defence System (BMDS) through existing networks. It would also provide enhanced protection of Australian forces on deployed operations, by seamlessly linking them into the air and missile defence systems of allied and friendly nations. The advent of 5th generation systems adds another dimension to integrated air and missile defence capability. Their ability to operate in contested, informationcentric operating environments and to leverage advanced sensor, data fusion and communications technologies will enable them to act as sensors, shooters, and/or communications platforms in a contested environment. If the information they collect can be shared with other non-5th generation systems – and technology exists to ensure that it can – the co-operative exploitation of their transformational ISR capabilities, including in relation to long-range, early warning of threats, will further future modernisation and digitisation of the battlefield.

Capturing the benefits of an integrated approach

The potential benefits associated with leveraging modern C4I technologies to network existing capabilities can be quantifies in the following ways: »» • Greatly enhanced situational awareness derived from the integration and leveraging of data from disparate national and coalition sensors, tactical and strategic, on land, sea and in the air. »» High degrees of mutual confidence that this integrated picture is generated and shared within an appropriately cyberprotected environment. »» Decision superiority consequent on commanders at the right level being able to draw on timely, clearer and more complete information. »» Kill chain optimisation in terms of the speed and quality of weapon/target allocation and the utilisation of bestplaced assets. »» Lower risk of fratricide through the provision of a shared, common operating picture. »» Reduced overall cost by the more effective and efficient utilisation of existing and planned assets, including the incremental addition of new assets via MOSA integration. »» Any sensor to best effector, improving military efficiency with available magazine through the integration of any sensor and the issuance of fire control quality orders to any effector. »» Incremental system development, through the ability to tie any sensor to

any effector provides flexibility as soon as they are tied in. By breaking apart traditional stovepipes, acquiring sensors and effectors and C2 simultaneously is not necessary, but rather can be added incrementally. This included leveraging legacy/existing sensors and effectors.

Making a real commitment to passive defence measures One final and often overlooked part of the equation is passive defence and, regardless of how it decides to proceed, Australia can and should consider its passive missile defence capabilities for the future. Passive missile defence measures are genuine force multipliers and must not be neglected. Passive defence measures such as denial, deception, mobility, hardening, and information operations, coupled with active defensive and offensive operations, are force multipliers assuring mission success. Failure to fully integrate and coordinate offensive, active, and passive actions places Joint Force objectives and

resources at unnecessary risk. The planning required to optimise passive missile defence measures must occur before fielding and employment of missile defence and integrated air and missile defence systems takes place. In order to take maximum economic advantage of the values of these measures, requirements makers, materiel developers, and industry partners must work together more closely with end users to determine how best to take advantage of these opportunities. Any consideration for how Australia proceeds should explicitly consider passive defence measures as a mandatory part of the entire equation.


Regardless of how it proceeds, the Commonwealth should be mindful of the lessons learned in the US about how to, and how not to design and develop its missile defence capabilities. Should Australia decide to continue down the path toward developing its national capability, it should be ever mindful to do so in a holistic and coordinated way, linking and integrating its capabilities in all domains together, rather than doing so piecemeal and in a vacuum. The power and potential of networked integration is simply too great to ignore. More importantly, the growing nature of an ever-more sophisticated threat will demand nothing less in order to ensure success. Brigadier General Kenneth Todorov, USAF (Ret), is the former Deputy Director at the US Missile Defense Agency and former Director of the Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organisation in the Pentagon. He is currently a non-resident expert at the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C, and is Vice President Missile Defense Solutions for Northrop Grumman. All views expressed in this article are his own. MARCH/APRIL 2018  51




ost readers will have heard or read discussions about the ‘combat cloud’. Like the white fluffy things from which its named is derived, the combat cloud can seem to be an ethereal thing – composed mostly of vapour and not necessarily establishing solid foundations upon which to build. That is a shame, particularly for the Australian Defence Force and Australia’s defence industry, because combat clouds are potentially a critical element in Australia’s realisation of a truly integrated force that can genuinely punch above its weight. So, how do we define what a combat cloud is? Borrowing from its commercial progenitor, the combat cloud conveys a system in which data is pooled and is available from this via a number of different means. The essence of the ‘cloud’ notion in combat cloud is that a user is not dependent upon information being pushed to them via a specific means; they are connected to the cloud via whatever means they have at their disposal, and can pull data they are authorised to see as and when necessary. This aspect is only part of the story though. The combat cloud terminology may suffer from being an idea that is a little before its time, as the more recent notion of an ‘internet of things’ is a more appropriate descriptor for what people seem to be trying to achieve with the combat cloud. The


combat cloud is not just about smoothing the passage of information in the way that Dropbox or iCloud does for its users. Instead, the concept of the combat cloud is about sharing information and resources across a networked force in a manner than allows the information and resources – sensors, weapons, processors, and deciders – to be optimised for the task at hand. This is more akin to a combat internet of things than a combat cloud, because a user can control and exploit resources anywhere on the network, not merely access the information available on the network. Much is made of the F-35A’s own and multi-ship fusion capabilities that enhance its ability to locate, identify, and track targets. This is indeed impressive, but the combat cloud allows this fusion effort to be scaled up exponentially. Instead of the data collected by the F-35A’s sensors being processed solely onboard, it can also be pooled with information from the E-7A Wedgetail, Hobart-class DDG, EA-18G Growler, MQ-4C Triton, Jindalee Overthe-Horizon-Radar (JORN), and orbital sensors, and then processed in server racks onboard a nearby orbiting KC-30A tanker to generate a high-fidelity multi-source track. The combat cloud concept matters for the ADF because it has the potential to enhance a small force’s lethality, survivability, resilience, and efficiency. The combat cloud has the power to enhance


The concept of the combat cloud is about sharing information across a networked force.

MARCH/APRIL 2018  53


the ADF’s potency by allowing engagement at greater ranges, using a greater array of weapon systems from potentially unexpected aspects. Physics dictates that an aircraft can only carry a limited number of missiles of a certain size, and that the more missiles the aircraft carries, the larger its signature becomes and the less distance it can travel. But in a combat cloud, the aircraft is not dependent upon the weapons it carries. Instead, it can call for fires from weapons on any of the platforms available in the network.



In this instance, an F-35A called on land-based long-range surface-toair missiles (SAM) to engage targets far beyond the horizon of the ship’s own sensors. The SAM battery’s crew, coordinating via datalink with the F-35A formation, swap the explosive warheads on several missiles for a microwave attack system designed to disable electronic systems and arrange to fire two salvoes. The first salvo of explosive and microwave weapons is fired, intended to disrupt the enemy strike package. Meanwhile, a second salvo of weapons flies to programmed waypoints to await updated targeting information from the F-35A. The first salvo does its work and the second salvo, approaching from a different aspect, targets remaining high value targets thanks to updated information from the on-scene F-35A. The enemy’s inbound strike package had no idea what hit them. There were no emissions until aircraft started exploding or falling out of the sky with malfunctioning electronics. In many ways, it was the combat cloud that hit them because the combat cloud had enabled crumbs of information from multiple sources to be fused into robust tracks. Aside from low probably of intercept/low probability of detection datalink transmissions, neither HMAS Hobart nor the F-35A force emitted at all during this engagement. The F-35A’s targeting data was derived from its own impressive onboard systems but was also fused – in server racks

onboard a KC-30A refuelling a pair of Growlers – with sensor information from offboard systems. This was important as the F-35A force had detected the incoming enemy aircraft minutes earlier but could not identify them without giving away their own presence. The cloud’s resilience had also been on show. The processing performed onboard the KC-30A was usually done in server rooms located in Canberra via satellite communications. But a Carrington Event the year before this story had disrupted most satellite communications. Enemy counter-space operations leading up to the attempted strike had compounded earlier problems. But due to the combat cloud, commanders had been able to divert processing power from routine activities towards the fusion of fragments of information from numerous sources to derive a sufficiently clear picture. The only element of this that had been ‘by design’ was the flexibility in the system to rapidly re-orient. Efficiency had also been optimised due to the combat cloud. HMAS Hobart’s longrange SAMs were closer to the inbound strikers, but the cloud had recommended to the area air defence commander aboard an E-7A Wedgetail that the DDG’s weapons be preserved for defence of the amphibious task group she was escorting. Besides, the upgrades to allow HMAS Hobart’s crew to swap out warheads were not due to come online until next year, and the enemy’s single axis formation presented an opportunity to disable multiple targets


The ADF and its industry partners have a unique opportunity to drive towards a combat cloud. with a limited number of non-kinetic payloads. The efficiency had also been apparent in the cloud’s optimisation of sensor allocation. Instead of the Wedgetail’s MESA radar radiating continuously, the cloud’s processing had identified the few targets that other sensors had been unable to identify and directed pulses of the MESA radar onto those targets, and those targets only, until they were identified sufficiently. Moreover, the smarts of the combat cloud allowed the battery commander to launch dumb weapons, preserving her active radar-homing missiles for subsequent missions. The fidelity and granularity with which the combat cloud could resolve targets, and the assuredness with which weapons could be guided to the target via a variety of data links, meant the weapons themselves could simply do as they were told until impact. This key breakthrough had enabled the rapid warhead swap as the missile’s payload would not interfere with a delicate guidance system. Of course, most of the above is fiction. The ADF will have a HMAS Hobart, F-35A, and land-based SAMs, but otherwise this is a made-up story. But it does not need to be.

This fictional combat cloud vignette illustrates why the combat cloud is more than an easily accessible data swamp, and why it offers such potential for the ADF’s realisation of an integrated force. Like its real-world namesake, the combat cloud presents an outside observer with a seemingly unified and impenetrable mass, with untold latent potential. This is precisely why Peter Layton felt the combat cloud was “perhaps better named a ‘combat thunderstorm’, hurling destructive lightning bolts from any part of the cumulonimbus.” The ADF and its industry partners have a unique opportunity to drive towards a combat cloud. The ADF’s highly capable mix of USAF, USN, and bespoke equipment on a relatively small scale means it is well placed to tackle the challenges of integrating weapons systems with fundamentally different, and often hostile DNA. Proprietary, security, and other regulatory controls on information sharing must be overcome. However, this presents an opportunity for Australian industry to present itself as an impartial broker, one that can potentially find a way to bridge the divides that arise between industry primes’ valuable intellectual property, the need for security, and government’s desire to control

the release of sensitive information. In an insightful study on battle network competition in the twentieth century, the US-based Center for Budgetary and Strategy Assessment identified that as competitions went on, the rate of change accelerated until the fundamental character of the competition was disrupted. Realising the combat cloud’s vision is essential if the ADF and its partners are to realise and maintain comparative advantage. A combat cloud that delays or precludes the integration of a new sensor, weapon, processor, or algorithm due to integration delays, is the combat cloud that the enemy in our scenario possessed. The results speak for themselves. Wing Commander Chris McInnes is a serving officer in the Royal Australian Air Force, and is the Co-Editor of the Sir Richard Williams Foundation’s ‘The Central Blue’ blog. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History, Politics and Management from UNSW Australia; completed the Australian Command and Staff Course (Joint) in Military and Strategic Leadership at the Australian Defence College; and holds a Master’s Degree in Military and Defence Studies from the Australian National University. ANDREW MCLAUGHLIN

MARCH/APRIL 2018  55


Australia adopts a disruptive approach to get a head start on its US ally


ost commentators reviewing the 2019 US defence budget correctly point out that the budget is less a much-needed shopping spree and more an investment to regain those relative capability advantages lost in the years since sequestration. Many reviewers though, have underplayed or missed the shift toward integration, multifunction and networking behind the individual service funding requests; they’ve missed the move to Uber. The 2019 US defence budget request, the largest single increase in US defence spending since World War 2, seeks to address ‘strategic atrohpy‘ that has seen the US falter in digitation transformation. As a result state and non-state adversaries have seen opportunities to close the gap, and in some limited circumstances, surpass US capability in key areas. In discussing its part of the budget request the US Air Force characterised that



capability catch-up task as needing to go “from taxis to Uber”, and they’ve allocated the dollars to make that happen. So, this budget is all about ensuring the US doesn’t fall behind, or fall farther behind in realising the promise of digital transformation. With this budget the US is getting serious about something that, since the introduction of Plan Jericho in the RAAF in particular, and the ADF in general has been a notable global front runner. When US President Donald Trump released his budget request on February 12, it marked the first step in a monthslong process in which politicans from both major parties and from both chambers of the US Congress hash out the minutia before voting on funding allocations. Trump’s defence budget request for the US fiscal year that begins on October 1 totals US$716bn (A$930bn), including US$686 billion for the Defense Department alone. The Pentagon’s top line includes a base budget of US$597.1 billion and an overseas contingency operations

budget (ie War budget) of US$89 billion. The total budget represents a nearly 12 per cent increase over the current year’s level of nearly US$612 billion. In 2013, then Marine Corps Gen – now US Secretary of Defense – Jim Mattis told the US Congress, “If you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition.” This budget responds to Trump’s gutting of the State Department, and the accompanied 26 per cent cut in State Department funding, with a call for a more than 25 per cent increase in spending on missiles and munitions. Secretary Mattis added in late 2017 that, “In a world awash in change, with increasing threats, there is no room for complacency. Failure to implement or fund the 2018 National Defense Strategy will leave us with a force that could dominate the last war, yet be irrelevant to tomorrow’s security. For too long we have asked our military to carry on stoically with a success-at-any-cost attitude.” This budget goes a long way to doing


By the numbers

Aircraft 77 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters – US$10.7 billion »» 15 KC-46 Tanker replacements – US$3.0 billion »» 24 F/A-18E/F/Gs – US$2.0 billion »» 60 AH-64E attack helicopters – US$1.3 billion »» 6 VH-92 Presidential helicopters – US$900 million »» 10 P-8A maritime ISR aircraft – US$2.2 billion »» 8 CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopters – US$1.6 billion »»

Shipbuilding »» 2 Virginia Class attack submarines – US$7.4 billion »» 3 DDG-51 Flight III Arleigh Burke destroyers – US$6.0 billion »» 1 Littoral Combat Ship – US$1.3 billion »» CVN-78 Class Aircraft Carrier funding – US$1.8 billion »» 2 Fleet Replenishment Oilers (T-AO) – US$1.1 billion »» 1 Expeditionary Sea Base – US$700 million

that. As the 2018 National Defense Strategy notes, “investments will prioritize ground, air, sea and space forces that can deploy, survive, operate, maneuver, and regenerate in all domains while under attack.” This lays the groundwork for rebuilding the US military into a more capable, lethal, and ready Joint Force. The objectives of the Department are “to be prepared to defend the homeland, remain the preeminent military power in the world, ensure the balances of power remain in our favor, and advance an international order that is most conducive to our security.” Importantly, the US DoD is calling for a massive buildup in funding for system and capability upgrades (RDT&E plus procurement) for FY19. This budget request invests US$13.7 billion in science and technology to further innovation and new and advanced capabilities including hypersonics technology, cyber space, space, directed energy, electronic warfare, unmanned systems and artificial intelligence.

Ground Systems »» 5,113 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) – US$2.0 billion »» 135 M-1 Abrams Tank modifications – US$2.7 billion »» 30 Amphibious Combat Vehicles – US$300 million »» 197 Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles – US$800 million »» The 2018 US National Defense Strategy also notes the importance of prioritising “investments in resilience, reconstitution, and operations to assure our space capabilities.” Space investments »» Five Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles – US$2.0 billion »» Global Positioning System – US$1.5 billion »» Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) – US$800 million The budget also delivers on the promise in the National Defense Strategy to “modernize the nuclear triad – including nuclear command, control, and communications, and supporting infrastructure.” FY2019 investments in the development of nuclear deterrence systems include: »» B-21 Long-Range Strike Bomber – US$2.3 billion »» Columbia Class ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) – US$3.7 billion »» Long-Range Stand-Off Missile (LRASM) – US$600 million

Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (ICBM) – US$300 million Highlighting the importance of missile defence programs, the National Defense Strategy calls for investments that will “focus on layered missile defenses and disruptive capabilities for both theater missile threats and North Korean ballistic missile threats.” Those investments for FY 2019 include: »» 43 AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense (SM-3) – US$1.7 billion »» Ground Based Midcourse Defense – US$2.1 billion »» 82 THAAD Ballistic Missile Defense – US$1.1 billion »» 240 Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC3) Missile Segment Enhancements – US$1.1 billion The 2018 National Defense Strategy also calls for a Joint Force that “must be able to strike diverse targets inside adversary air and missile defense networks to destroy mobile power-projection platforms.” To reach that goal, and to assist Secretary Mattis to buy the extra munitions he referred to in 2013, the US »»

(Above) The Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) satellite network will receive $800m in funding. (Top) Development funding for the B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber will continue. usaf

MARCH/APRIL 2018  57

From taxis to Uber

2019 budget includes these armaments: »» 43,594 Joint Direct Attack Munitions – US$1.2 billion »» 9,733 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) – US$1.2 billion »» 6,826 Small Diameter Bomb I – US$300 million »» 1,260 Small Diameter Bomb II – US$400 million »» 7,045 Hellfire Missiles – US$600 million »» 360 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER)US$600 million »» 1,121 Joint Air-to-Ground Missiles (JAGM) – US$300 million The Overseas Contingency Operations budget for FY 2019 supports Operation FREEDOM’S SENTINEL in Afghanistan, and Operation INHERENT RESOLVE in Iraq and Syria.

In its 2019 Budget request Air Force erased funding for its recapitalisation program to replace the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) airborne battle management and command and control platform. The decision to cut the JSTARS recapitalisation program will require the USAF to take a disaggregated battle management approach using unmanned aircraft and seven revitalised E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft. This approach will have to do for the short term before, over the longer term, the USAF moves toward a true system-ofsystems approach to advanced airborne battle management, and ultimately enterprise-level battle management. “Buying a new version of something that was revolutionary 30 years ago doesn’t take us to a more competitive future,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said in her speech at February’s US Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida. Wilson detailed plans – beyond JSTARS – to develop an advanced battlemanagement system that connects sensors for an improved understanding of the battlefield, a requirement for combatant commanders. “Think air traffic control on steroids,” she said. “That’s why the Chief and I decided to change gears and convince the Joint Staff, and the [Office of the US Secretary of Defense] staff and the Secretary to change gears, too. We will not recapitalise a system that is ill-suited to operating in a contested domain.” In a recent briefing for US lawmakers,

(Below) A GBU-31 penetrator bomb with JDAM kit. (Above left) CVN-77 USS George H W Bush under construction. (Above right) A USAF Delta IV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV). usaf & USN


Secretary Wilson compared her service’s new approach to the way the advent of smartphones now allow her travel to Washington’s Capitol Hill by reserving an Uber ride instead of catching a cab. She was referring to the need to ensure the USAF avoids making capital investment decisions that inhibit its ability to harness emerging, or even existing, opportunities of digitally-based capability advances. Secretary Wilson was suggesting that investing nearly US$7 billion in 17 new JSTARS aircraft – which would be at especially high risk in a contested environment – wouldn’t be wise at a time when digital transformation is ushering in a series of dramatic capability leaps. The combination of hardware and software advances are improving systems’ connectivity, multifunctionality and sensor performance – including improvements in range, speed, agility and affordability. Investing in digital transformation across the enterprise is seen as being a critical path to widespread capability improvements which will have the effect of reducing the return on investment of any single asset, regardless of how capable it might be. General John W ‘Jay’ Raymond, Commander US Air Force Space Command painted a succinct picture of the enterprise battlespace where enhancing the power of the whole far outweighs the power of individual capabilities when he said the USAF must, “…C2 our joint forces, discover and fuse multiple data sources – at all classification levels, and share decisionquality information to diverse operations floors, on tactically relevant timelines.” Gen Raymond oversees US Air Force


network operations, manages a global network of satellite command and control, communications, missile warning and space launch facilities, and is responsible for space system development and acquisition.

Australian expeditionary enterprise leadership

In 2015 when then Chief of Air Force AIRMSHL Geoff Brown launched Australia’s Plan Jericho, he said “We cannot be complacent by thinking that simply having the next generation of aircraft technology will create an advanced air force.” AIRMSHL Brown was making it clear that to become one of the most technologically-advanced air forces in the world the RAAF had to network. The RAAF had to integrate, not just interoperate. “We need to work across Defence, to create integration with Army and Navy’s technologies to deliver the best possible options for Government from these advanced aircraft. “We need to transform ourselves into a truly integrated, networked force that can realise the potential of this technology, and maintain our position as masters of the air domain,” he said. “The E-7A Wedgetail is already in service, and the F-35A Lightning II, P-8A Poseidon and EA-18G Growler are only a few years away. “But full potential could only be reached through operating them in a fully networked force, including the Army and Navy,” AIRMSHL Brown said. Three years later those air systems are beginning to arrive, and additional capabilities including the MQ-4C Triton maritime ISR RPA are on the horizon. Plan Jericho continues to mature and remains foundational to RAAF’s 20172027 strategy. The comparatively small scale of RAAF and the timeliness of its almost complete modernisation means that the RAAF, and by extension the ADF, is able to conceive, trial and introduce ways of interoperating with considerable agility. It can, and in fact is able to, experiment with and progress toward an enterprise battlespace almost a generation ahead of the larger and less agile US. It is clear from this side of the Pacific that Australia’s allied US services are watching with great interest, and are eager to contribute to, and to learn and benefit from Australia’s modest lead in the realisation of system-of-systems defence. Australians aren’t all hopping aboard an Uber and abandoning taxis just yet, but they certainly understand the folly of investing in taxi licenses.

(Below) A Virginia class SSN at Norfolk. (Middle) From 2023 the MQ-4C Triton will complete the RAAF networked platform puzzle. (Top) Eight Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallions have been funded. USN

MARCH/APRIL 2018  59

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RESURGENCE Hanwha positioned to lead a Korean return to the Australian market BY MAX BLENKIN




outh Korea possesses an advanced and energetic economy and a potent military equipped with modern equipment, of which Australia has purchased none

whatsoever. Well, that’s not strictly correct. The RAN’s current fleet replenishment vessel HMAS Sirius was constructed as a commercial tanker in the Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in 2004 and was commissioned in 2006 after conversion to a fleet replenishment vessel. But Sirius was at best a gap-filler capability, and is set to be decommissioned next year when the first of two new purpose-built vessels from Spain’s Navantia arrive. No doubt many Australian defence facilities feature Korean-made flat screen TVs and computer monitors but the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has never acquired any of its well-regarded military equipment. But Hanwha, Korea’s largest defence company, is hoping that will soon change. To that end, Hanwha is pitching its K21 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) as an M113 replacement under Project LAND 400 Phase 3, and its K9 Thunder self-propelled (SP) gun as a capability for which there is currently no specific requirement. But once there was, under the dualphased Project LAND 17 which was launched in 2006 as part of the move to harden and network the army to replace legacy artillery systems with new towed 155mm guns, and with an armoured SP gun system. Under LAND 17 Phase 1, the Army acquired the BAE Systems M777 Lightweight Towed Howitzer. Phase 2 sought a modern SP gun, pitting a teaming of Samsung Techwin and Raytheon Australia with the K9 ‘Australian Thunder’, against Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and BAE Systems Australia with the PzH 2000. There followed a comprehensive and protracted evaluation which came to a halt with the sudden cancellation of Phase 2 of the project in May 2012. The then Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Defence Minister Stephen Smith explained this about-face as saving $250 million. Media reports at the time suggest Defence really had its heart set on the German gun, but its own evaluation reportedly showed the Korean-made option was the better of the two. Ultimately it came down to the money – at that time Labor was filleting defence funding in the ultimately forlorn hope that it could return the federal budget to surplus in time for the 2013 election.


All this left a sense that the Koreans had been treated pretty shabbily. “We can’t cry over spilled milk,” Richard Cho, Hanwha Land Systems Sydney-based vice-president for business development and strategy told ADBR. “We have had a number of opportunities. For whatever the reason that did not happen. We don’t wish to dwell on the past.” Back in 2012, the only K9 customer outside Korea was Turkey, but since then the system has been sold to Estonia, Finland, Norway, India and Poland. “In 2012 our only customer outside Korea was Turkey. But now K-9 and its derivatives represent the most deployed 52 calibre system in the world.” Following the success with Norway, the UK Ministry of Defence has now expressed an interest in K9. So too has the US, looking at K9 as an interim replacement for its Vietnam War-era M109 Paladin howitzers which, despite being extensively upgraded, are showing their age. One possibility is for K9s to go into US pre-positioned war stocks in South Korea where, in event of a conflict with North Korea, these would be one of the first equipment elements into action on the South Korean side. US K9s would have complete inter-operability with their Korean allies. “We had a lot of success in Europe in relation to K9,” Cho said. “The three-eyes nations are now very much interested in the Korean guns. We see this as a great opportunity for us to reintroduce the SP gun capability to Australian as part of the threeeyes network – the US, UK and Australia.” Cho says the notion of K9 being an orphan solution is no longer the case. “We have a multiple user community. Given the

opportunity with the UK and US, certainly Australia would be part of that scenario.” Germany has supplied several hundred of its Panzer 2000SP guns. In comparison Hanwha is looking at placing around 3,000 K9s around the world. The K9 is a tracked SP gun system with a crew of four or five depending on configuration, and weighs in at 47 tonnes. Power comes from a German MTU eightcylinder diesel, and the gun is a 155mm howitzer. With standard ammunition, the gun’s range is around 30km, but with low drag base-bleed shells that stretches out to 56km. New precision-guided ramjet projectiles now under development by foreign partners in Europe will travel more than 80km, and strike within 15 metres of aiming point. Each K9 carries 48 ready rounds onboard, but when deployed K9s travel with K10 ammunition resupply vehicles, each of which carry another 104 shells. Cho says since Australia acquired the M777, the world has changed. “Given the general trend within the international market and potential conflict with Russia and China, certainly a protected longrange system is important for any Army. “Even for the Europeans, it wasn’t until the incident in the Ukraine that suddenly showed the focus on combat with light insurgent is no longer the case. Massed fire by the Russians was something they had to be prepared for.” In the Ukraine “incident” Cho refers to, in July 2014 a series of salvos of BM-21 Grad artillery rockets fired by Russian-backed separatists from inside Russian territory hit a convoy of Ukrainian ground forces in their overnight encampment. The salvo killed 36

The K9 (AS9) self-propelled howitzer was a leading contender for Project LAND 17 Phase 2 prior to the project’s sudden cancellation in May 2012. HANWHA

MARCH/APRIL 2018  63

Ukrainian soldiers and border guards and obliterated a large number of thin-skinned vehicles. One artillery battalion was almost entirely destroyed. The attack, which lasted only a few minutes featured a very high degree of sophistication. It was directed by UAVs and employed a variety of munitions including top-attack anti-armour submunitions and thermobaric explosives. This prompted some serious thinking by the US and European militaries whose combat involvement since 9/11 had mostly been against lightly armed insurgents or conventional forces of low capability. In the US, the Army Capabilities Integration Centre headed by then Lieutenant General H R McMaster examined the Russian operation in Ukraine and concluded Russian equipment was in many areas superior to that of the US. Cho said NATO and European nations saw themselves as outgunned by an increasingly bellicose Russia and also China. More recently, McMaster announced on March 23 that he was “stepping down” from his 13-month tenure as National Security Adviser to US President Donald Trump. In event of a major conflict, such as on the Korean Peninsula, Australia would The K10 (AS10) ammunition resupply vehicle can carry 104 shells to supplement the K9 self-propelled howitzer’s organic capacity of 48 shells. HANWHA


certainly be involved. “Therefore, it is important that our soldiers are equipped with the most advanced systems currently available,” Cho said. That means modern infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), an armoured SP system, and also an artillery rocket system. Both IFVs and long-range rockets are in the program, while the IFVs are to be acquired under Project LAND 400 Phase 3. Phase 2 of LAND 400 to supply the Rheinmetall Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles (CRVs) as Army’s ASLAV replacement was announced on March 14. Under Phase 3, the Army’s large fleet of Vietnam War-era M113s will be replaced by 450 modern IFVs. In an industry brief in September 2016, Defence spelled out only its basic requirements – a tracked vehicle with a turret, capacity to carry eight soldiers, high levels of protection and mobility, and mature technology with a robust growth path. At that stage there were seven potential contenders, all indicating their willingness to build wholly or mostly in Australia. But Defence still hasn’t yet spelled out an acquisition process or timeline despite there being some expectation that it was to be announced around the same time as the LAND 400 Phase 2 decision. The 2016

Defence White Paper said new IFVs will be acquired from 2024. The acquisition of IFVs will be another big and expensive project, running from 2019-2032 at a cost of $10-15 billion. The artillery rockets aren’t much further off, with the 2016 Defence White Paper saying, “The Government will enhance Army’s firepower with a new long-range rocket system in the mid-2020s to complement Army’s existing artillery capability. The new system will be capable of providing fire support to defeat threats to our personnel at ranges of up to 300 kilometres.” The accompanying Integrated Investment Program says these will be acquired in the period 2023-2030 at a cost of $750 million to $1 billion. Hanwha itself started out in 1956 as an explosives manufacturer and is now one of Korea’s largest and most diversified conglomerates. The company is publicly owned with assets of around US$145bn (A$184bn). Hanwha Defence Systems has expanded in recent years, acquiring Samsung Techwin, Samsung Thales and Doosan Defence, and now covers around 90 per cent of a land system’s solutions. The main exception is Hyundai Rotem which makes the K2 main battle tank.


The K21 Infantry fighting vehicle will be pitched for Project LAND 400 Phase 3 M113 replacement as the AS21. HANWHA

Cho said Hanwha was now evaluating where it would go as an international provider of defence systems, but that it sees Australia as a very significant opportunity to manufacture and ultimately be part of export of next generation K21 and potentially K9 systems into South-East Asia and also the US, UK and Europe. “We believe that Hanwha is able to assist and support the ADF and deliver capabilities that meet the Australian requirements in a more cost-effective and innovative manner based on proven solutions,” he said. “The supply chains would become an integral part of our exports from Australia to the US and UK.” Throughout its history, South Korea has existed under the shadow of the belligerent north which has never renounced its ambition to reunite the Koreas under its rule. The north has enormous armed forces facing south, plus nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The Republic of Korea armed forces’ primary purpose is to defeat an attack from the north. Their latest generation armoured vehicles are indigenous designs designed specifically for fighting the North Koreans in the mountainous regions of the peninsula. They feature high levels of armoured protection, formidable firepower, amphibious capability and high power-toweight ratios. The K2 MBT and K21 IFV plus K9 are regarded as among the best of their type in the world.

K21 was actually designed by the ROK Army to overmatch their prime competitor, the Russian-designed BMP-3, of which North Korea possesses large numbers. To be called the AS-21 for Australia, it is a tracked vehicle weighing in at 26 tonnes which is substantially lighter than the elderly US M2 Bradley IFV. It has a threeperson crew and capacity for eight soldiers, compared with six in a Bradley. The armour specifications are classified, but US website The National Interest says it’s a combination of military grade aluminium, ceramic tiles and fiberglass. Power comes from a Korean Doosan diesel, although it could be adapted to a German MTU. The vehicle is modular in design, and comes in different variants, even a mini-MBT equipped with a 105mm gun. For Australia, Hanwha is proposing that the turret and gun system be whichever is chosen for the new CRV, with either a 30mm or 35mm gun, the original Korean turret with 40mm gun, or a remote weapon station from EOS or Kongsberg. Cho said it is expected Australia could play a significant role in the development of electronics, fire control and radios. The company proposes construction in Australia and has held preliminary discussions with the governments of NSW, Victoria and South Australia, though the supply chain would likely be spread across all states. It calculates there would be 600 direct jobs plus another 2,000 across the supply chain.

Cho says that, for Korea, manufacturing in Australia isn’t just a matter of export dollars – it’s actually a strategic resource. In event of a conflict on the peninsular, there is high potential for disruption or devastation of the south’s industrial base. Australia is far closer for supply of spares or complete vehicles than either the US or Europe. “With the recent Trump and North Korea stoush it is becoming more important for Korean industries as well as the Korean government to establish sustainment support capability outside the Korean Peninsula in event there is a conflict between north and south,” Cho said. With a number of companies making rival IFVs, Cho said the market for this type of vehicle was ever shrinking. “We are not afraid to work with others and share the work. We are more than happy to talk to the traditional Australian industries, as long as we can deliver benefit and warfighting capability to the ADF. “One of the things that we bring forward as Korean industry to Australian industry is our ability to deliver based on mass production capacity and long-term cost savings on through-life support.” As if to illustrate this final point, Cho says Hanwha can offer a package of the K9 SP and K10 support vehicle (AS9 and AS10), the AS21, plus the K239 Chunmoo (AS239) multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) to the ADF, all for less than the LAND 400 Phase 3 budget just for the IFVs. MARCH/APRIL 2018  65

Make Your Mark Down Under!


aytheon and Invictus Games Sydney 2018 have announced a partnership to provide support for former military personnel. The Invictus Games is an international sporting event for wounded, injured and ill veterans and active service personnel. The Games highlight the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation, and generate a wider understanding of and respect for those who serve their country. The fourth Invictus Games will be held in Sydney from 20-27 October, where 500 competitors from 18 nations will compete in 11 adaptive sports supported by 1,000 members of their family and friends. “We are incredibly proud to support the Invictus Games and help to create a legacy of ongoing support for Australia’s veterans,” said Michael Ward, Managing Director of Raytheon Australia. “We recognise that supporting our nation’s veterans and honouring their contribution to the national security of our country is a responsibility that belongs to us all. “These brave men and women need our support as they transition into civilian life,” Mr Ward added. “This is why we are so focused on supporting veteran employment initiatives like the Veteran Employment Symposium, which will take place during the lead-up to the Invictus Games.” Patrick Kidd, CEO Invictus Games Sydney 2018 added, “We are grateful to have Raytheon join with us on our journey to Invictus Games Sydney 2018. With more than 35 per cent of their workforce made up by former ADF members in Australia, Raytheon has long been a champion for veteran’s employment. “Together we share this purpose and the partnership that we announce today will


ensure the Games have an enduring impact and legacy for former military personnel well beyond October 2018.” The partnership announcement is the latest addition to Raytheon veteran outreach initiatives in Australia, which includes support for organisations like Soldier On, the creation of Australia’s first industry-led Veteran Career Translator, and participation in the Prime Minister’s Veterans Employment Program. Invictus Games Sydney 2018 has also announced it will work with mental health organisation beyondblue to highlight the positive impact that sport, physical exercise and participation can have on mental health and wellbeing. Every Invictus Games competitor has been wounded, injured or become ill in the line of duty, and is now representing their country through sport. Sport has played a vital role in the physical health and recovery of all these competitors, but it has also helped them maintain their mental wellbeing. While mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression are as common among defence personnel as the broader community, exposure to violent or traumatic events places them at greater risk. beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman said the Invictus Games were a fantastic example of how sport and exercise could help people regain confidence, a sense of stability and control by setting and achieving personal goals. “Sport and physical exercise are always great for the body, but setting your mind to beating your previous personal best or reaching that next level of competition can give people something to strive for and a real sense of purpose,” Ms Harman said. “Sport is also a wonderful way to connect with others

and to make friends which has an enormous positive impact on our mental health. “beyondblue is thrilled to be working together with Invictus Games Sydney 2018,” she added. “What a fantastic opportunity to get people talking about mental health and to highlight the importance of wellbeing, especially for those in the defence community.” beyondblue is encouraging individuals, clubs and sports groups across Australia to get on board the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 ‘Make Your Mark Down Under’ campaign. Making your mark could be as simple as going for a ‘Walk and Talk’ with your friends and discussing mental health while showing support for the defence community. Patrick Kidd welcomed the significant support working with beyondblue can offer, and hopes the #MakeYourMarkDownUnder campaign will ignite interest among the beyondblue community nationwide. “Invictus Games Sydney 2018 is an incredible opportunity for Australia,” he said. “At the Games we will witness some incredible stories showcasing the ability to overcome adversity. No matter where you are or what you do, there is a role for you in the Invictus Games Sydney 2018. “This is a moment in time for us to come together as a nation, to be inspired by these incredible stories of resilience and actively demonstrate support for our defence community,” Kidd added. “Working together with beyondblue provides a significant platform for us to get people active and connected, supporting their physical and mental wellbeing while actively ‘making their mark’ to support our defence community.”


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ADBR March-April 2018  
ADBR March-April 2018  

Australian Defence and Industry from a different perspective