Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR February 2016 Contents (IOC) in 2018.
Defence advised APDR that:
‘The capability will reduce the risk to its forces and
improve their situational awareness. The aircraft will
be able to support the full spectrum of Defence tasks,
from peacetime evacuations to major conflicts. The
aircraft is based on the F/A-18F Super Hornet fitted
with additional avionics, enhanced radio frequency
receivers, an improved communications suite and ALQ
radio-frequency jamming pods which enable it to jam
The planned guided missile fitout includes AIM-120
AMRAAM BVR air-to-air missiles and AIM-9X
Sidewinder WVR short range air-to-air missiles already
covered. A Defence spokesperson told APDR:
“Australia is acquiring a High-Speed Anti-Radiation
Missile (HARM) and Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided
Missile (AARGM) capability that facilitates aircrew
training for the EA-18G Growler".
Raytheon-manufactured AGM-88 HARM travels
just under Mach 2 and carries a 66 kg warhead
detonated by a laser close proximity fuse. It has
passive radar homing with home-on jamming, GPS
guidance supported by an intertial navigation system
and millimeter wave active radar homing.
The AGM-88E AARGM is a medium-range air-to-
ground missile developed by Alliant Techsystems
(ATK) and already in service with the US Navy. The
AGM-88E AARGM I can be considered as a follow-on
to the AGM-88 HARM.
F-35A LIGHTNING II
Defence plans for the F-35A Lightning II to provide
for Australia’s future air combat and strike needs.
Currently 72 aircraft have been ordered, but a further
squadron of 28 will be ordered in the future. RAAF
can see co-existence of Super Hornets, Growlers and
Lightning IIs well out into the future.
The first two aircraft were received in the US during
2014 and flying training is being conducted there
before the first F-35A aircraft arriving in Australia
during 2018. The RAAF expect the first squadron will
be operational in 2021. All 72 aircraft are expected
to be fully operational by 2023, replacing the Classic
The RAAF describe the F-35A as providing Australia
with a fifth generation aircraft at the forefront of air
combat technology, to provide a networked force-
multiplier effect in terms of situational awareness and
combat effectiveness. Capable of supersonic flight
whilst retaining stealth, the F-35A has extraordinary
acceleration, agility and 9G maneuverability.
They state the F-35A is characterised by a low
profile design; internal weapons and fuel carriage;
advanced radar; electro-optical and infrared sensors
with advanced voice and data link communications;
and the ability to employ a wide range of air-to-surface
and air-to-air weapons.
“The ADF is committed to a mixed air combat fleet of
Super Hornet, Growler, and F-35A until at least the late
2020’s. Air-launched guided weapon acquisitions over
the next decade should have utility across all platforms
of the fleet but should also consider the relative
contributions of each platform to the overall capability”
a Defence spokesperson told APDR.
The only currently announced guided missiles are
the AIM-120C BVR AMRAAM and AIM-9X WVR
Sidewinder, both of which have been described.
It seems highly likely that the AGM-154C JSOW
will be integrated on the F-35A Lightning II. In another
development Norway’s Kongsberg JSM is planned to
be fitted to their F-35As, but more on that later.
RAN MH-60R AND ARMY TIGER ARH
Australia chose 24 MH-60R Seahawk military-off-
the-shelf naval combat helicopters at a cost of over
$3 billion because they considered it represented
the best value for money for taxpayers and was the
lowest risk option. The Seahawk is a proven capability
currently operated by the United States Navy, and
for the RAN interoperability with Australia’s Alliance
partner, the United States, is a significant advantage
of this helicopter.
The author has visited Lockheed Martin’s production
line in Owego, upstate New York and can testify to the
quality of production and the intensive testing before
each new aircraft takes their first flight.
In RAN service they are equipped with a highly
sophisticated combat systems designed to fire the
AGM-114 Hellfire II and the in-service 70mm rocket
fitted with a laser guidance package known as the
Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS).
The MH-60R Seahawk can fire up to eight Hellfire
missiles simultaneously. The Hellfire uses semi-active
laser homing, supported by millimetre wave radar
seeking to detonate a 9 kg charge against its target.
The Army’s Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter
(ARH) is considered one of the world's most advanced
armed reconnaissance helicopters. It incorporates
One Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) and two Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missiles (AMRAAM) fitted to
RAAF F/A-18A Hornet. Credit: CoA
BAE Systems says it has delivered a pre-production passive RF
sensor for the JSM program, which is being used to perform fit
checks, system integration and flight-testing in a development-
16 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter FEB 2016
29/01/2016 4:06 PM
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