In this post, Chris McInnes provides some thoughts on what he thinks a fifth-generation force looks like. He is not sure he is right and he is pretty sure some of you think he is wrong. He, and we, would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. The Lockheed Martin marketeers that came up with the ‘fifth generation’ slogan for the F-22 Raptor must be very pleased. The three Services of the Australian Defence Force, led by the Royal Australian Air Force but joined more recentl
This is the third in a series of posts by Air Vice-Marshal Brian Weston (Retd.) describing the RAAF’s transition through five generations of fighter aircraft. In this post, Weston outlines how the RAAF plans to transition from the F/A-18A to the F-35A without the loss of combat capability. Australias first Lockheed Martin, F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter on its inaugural flight on 29 September 2014. [Image Credit: Lockheed Martin] Following the earlier RAAF fighter t
The arrival of the RAAF’s first F-35A will see a generational shift in Australia’s air combat capability. But this is not the first time that the RAAF has undergone a significant generational shift in capability. In this post, Air-Vice Marshal Brian Weston (Retd.) reflects on the experience in transitioning from first to second generation fighter aircraft in the 1960s. With the fifth-generation F-35A Lightning II waiting in the wings and time soon to be called on the venera
Like the RAAF, the Royal Norwegian Air Force is currently undertaking a major modernisation program, including the acquisition of F-35As, P-8s, and the Joint Strike Missile. While the two air forces’ geopolitical circumstances are very different, the similarities of their organisational approach to managing change are noteworthy Dr Robbin Laird recently interviewed the RNoAF’s newly-appointed chief, Major General Tonje Skinnarland, and the head of the National Air Operations
‘Flexibility is the key to air power’ is one of the favourite clichés of the professional airman. In this post, Flight Lieutenant Jenna Higgins asks if, in light of the USMC’s recent successful proof of concept demonstration of the F-35B VSTOL, the ADF should demonstrate flexibility in reviewing the decision of whether to acquire the F-35B to operate off its newly commissioned Canberra Class LHDs. Australia has committed to buying 72 F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters.
When we discuss the politics of air power it is generally in the context of its employment, not its development. The F-35 appears to have changed this as its cost overruns and production delays have attracted close political scrutiny both in Australia and globally. In this post, originally published on The Strategist on 24 November, Christopher Cowan explores the Canadian experience of how an election promise to cancel the acquisition of the F-35 is impacting on the country’s
Though a work of fiction, Ghost Fleet stimulates the reader’s thinking about a broad range of ideas and issues, encouraging open-mindedness and innovation. This is the type of thinking necessary for the success of the Royal Australian Air Force’s Plan JERICHO. [Image Credit: Amazon.com] Ghost Fleet has attracted extensive attention among military commentators since it was published in 2015, culminating in co-author August Cole’s presentation to at the 2016 Air Power Conferenc
Dr Ross Mahoney responds to Robbin Laird’s post referring to the F-35 as a 1st Gen flying combat system. Using a platform to define air power concepts is not a new phenomenon, and while we need to encourage innovative thinking about air power we must be willing and able to critique the rise of new buzzwords and the ideas underpin them. In a previous post, The F-35 and the Transformation of Power Projection Forces, Robbin Laird suggested that rather than describing the F-35 Li