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  • The Third Industrial Revolution and Air Power – Cody Stephens

    The shift from analogue to digital technology that started in the late-1950s and gained serious momentum in the 1970s has now reached lift-off speed. Innovations based on this radical development include advanced computing, the internet, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Such is the magnitude of the change that these and similar technologies are driving that many commentators believe we have entered a “Third Industrial Revolution”. Like its predecessors, the Third Industrial Revolution is expected to create dramatic social and economic change, in this instance by hollowing-out workforces by up to 80 per cent as people increasingly are replaced by robotics. Because air power is an intensely technological business, its practitioners are well-placed to prosper in this new environment. Air forces have always substituted machines for manpower. This approach will become even more pronounced as the current industrial revolution continues to enhance the already formidable capabilities of UAVs and other unmanned weapons (for example, loitering ISR and strike systems). The emphasis air forces have placed on technology has created a distinctive employment model. Whereas the nature of land and sea warfare has made it necessary for armies and navies to take large numbers of people into the field or out to sea, only a very small proportion of an air force takes to the skies. The RAAF, for example, has a “warrior” clique of only 700 pilots, less than 100 of whom fly strike/fighters. In other words, compared to armies and navies, air forces will be relatively unaffected by the inexorable replacement in warfare of people by machines. The Third Industrial Revolution has also increased the likelihood that land and sea power will be replaced to an even greater extent by air power. This ongoing process evokes the controversial “substitution” debate in British defence circles in the 1920s and 1930s. When the (British) Royal Air Force was formed as the world’s first independent air force in 1918 it faced bitter opposition from the British army and navy; consequently, the RAF was constantly looking for new ways to justify its existence. The most contentious of these was the proposal made by the RAF’s first chief of staff, Sir Hugh Trenchard, that air power could be substituted for land and sea power. Trenchard won support from the influential politician Winston Churchill, and in 1922 the RAF was “substituted” for the British Army in the task of policing the British mandate of Iraq. Using a strategy known as “Air Control”, the RAF kept watch over vast expanses of territory. If a tribe was detected behaving against British interests, a note would be air-dropped advising them to desist, otherwise aircraft would return at a specified time and destroy crops, herds, water supplies, and so on. The method was remarkably successful. Furthermore, it was economical: by replacing 33 Army battalions with five RAF squadrons, the British Government reduced the annual cost of its garrison in Iraq from £20 million to £2 million. Air Control was subsequently applied successfully in other remote areas of the British Empire. The notion of “substitution” extended into the equally-heated debate of whether aircraft could sink warships. In trials off the US coast in 1921, flimsy bombers commanded by the outspoken American air power advocate William “Billy” Mitchell had sunk the captured German battleship Ostfriesland. But despite that and similar impressive tests, many navy officers refused to accept that aircraft constituted a threat to capital ships. The skeptics were given the most brutal rebuke on 10 December 1941, when land-based Japanese bombers sank the British warships HMS Prince of Wales and Repulse off the coast of Malaya. Six months later near Midway Island, American carrier-based aircraft sank four Japanese aircraft carriers, effectively ending Japanese expansionism. This was one of history’s defining battles: the fleets never came within sight of each other, and all the fighting was done by aircraft. From then on, warships operating without air cover had to be considered at risk, a reality of warfare that remains applicable today. The trend towards substitution has gained momentum as Western political leaders have finally realised that their armies cannot win so-called “counter-insurgency” wars. Fifty years of persistent failure (Algeria, Vietnam, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, etc) and unacceptable levels of casualties have popularised the notion of substituting air power for land and sea forces. Thus, US president Barack Obama’s strategy for combating the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria and Libya is based on advanced (Western) air power and local ground forces (the latter receiving expert assistance from small numbers of Western Special Forces). It’s also noteworthy that Saudi Arabia is employing air strikes as the primary means of attacking Houthi rebels in Yemen. The substitution of technology for human labour has been a dominant feature of previous Industrial Revolutions. As the consequences of the Third Industrial Revolution become more widely experienced and better understood, air power’s standing as the weapon of first choice for developed states is likely to strengthen. Cody Stephens is a law graduate who works in technology and innovation research #Robotics #ThirdIndustrialRevolution #Strategy #AirPower #Substitution #UAV

  • Anti-Access/Area Denial – Christopher Cowan

    Anti-access/area denial is not as new as you might think. Commonly known as A2/AD, “anti-access/area denial”  has become a hot topic in recent years. Many have detailed the threats that A2/AD weapons systems pose to the US military, especially its aircraft carriers. But those threats aren’t new; A2/AD campaigns have been waged since the Greco-Persian War. They aren’t even new threats to American aircraft carriers, which faced a similar threat from the Soviet Navy during the Cold War. The Soviet Navy had two main objectives during the Cold War. One was to protect the Soviet Union’s ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to guarantee their survival as credible nuclear strike platforms. The other was to protect the Soviet homeland from strikes from NATO aircraft carriers and submarines. A glance at a map reveals the challenge faced by the Soviet Navy in achieving these objectives. While the Soviet Union spanned the Eurasian landmass, its access to the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans was limited. Both the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea – each home to a Soviet fleet – had single entrances, creating chokepoints easily monitored by NATO forces. In the north, Soviet Northern Fleet vessels had to sortie through the Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea – areas of intense NATO naval activity – and then pass through the Greenland –Iceland -United Kingdom gap before they could reach the Atlantic Ocean. The Soviet Pacific Fleet had easier access to the ocean from its bases in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, but vessels based in Vladivostok had to transit Japanese waters to quickly reach the Pacific Ocean. This was both a blessing and a curse for the Soviets. NATO naval vessels had to travel long distances to the Soviet Union’s littoral region to threaten the Soviet homeland or its SSBN bastions. Those positions were well within range of Soviet Naval Aviation aircraft. On the other hand, the same distances also made it difficult for the Soviet Navy to project power with its surface vessels. Soviet naval doctrine in the early part of the Cold War called for the Soviet Navy to challenge NATO vessels for control of the open ocean. However, various developments forced the Soviet Navy to fall back to an A2/AD strategy. To protect the homeland and to secure its SSBN capability in the event of conflict, the Soviet Navy planned to deny NATO access to its littoral region and SSBN sanctuaries by creating a defensive perimeter up to 3,000 kilometres away from its shores. Defending the perimeter would have involved attacking NATO bases on the Soviet periphery, interdicting NATO submarines attempting to access Soviet SSBN sanctuaries, and attacking NATO surface vessels and carrier battle groups (CBGs) before they could access the Soviet littoral. NATO naval and air bases encircled the Soviet Union, giving NATO naval forces jumping off points to the Soviet littoral. Striking those bases with cruise missiles launched from long range strike aircraft or submarines, as well as attacks by Special Forces, ietwas seen as a good first step in limiting NATO naval access. The NATO submarine threat required a different set of countermeasures. The Soviet Navy deployed maritime patrol aircraft and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) task forces, comprised of ASW surface vessels and aircraft carrying vessels with strong ASW capabilities, to patrol the SSBN bastions while Soviet attack submarines defended their approaches. The bastions were also lined with underwater sensors and heavily mined to further limit NATO submarines access. Tracking CBGs at sea during the Cold War was difficult. To do that, the Soviet Navy created an extensive ocean surveillance system comprised of radar ocean reconnaissance satellites, electronic intelligence ocean reconnaissance satellites, surveillance surface vessels, and maritime patrol aircraft. These platforms were used to create a “kill chain” that fed targeting data to Soviet strike aircraft and submarines, which could then attack NATO vessels with long range anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) and torpedoes. If that all sounds familiar, it’s because China is currently attempting to do something very similar with its military modernisation programme. It appears to be creating a bastion for its growing fleet of SSBNs by building artificial islands, developing advanced sea mines, deploying underwater sensors, and investing heavily in improved ASW capabilities. It is also developing a variety of long range anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs) and ASCMs to threaten US forces in the Pacific and limit US access to its littoral region. The concept’s the same, though new technologies have changed aspects of the execution. Developments in missile technology and maritime reconnaissance systems have made China’s ASBMs and ASCMs more accurate than their Soviet counterparts. And cyberspace and space-based assets, which were in their infancy during the Cold War, now play an increasingly critical role in modern day conflict. Whether China’s A2/AD strategy will work is something we’ll only find out in the event of conflict. We still don’t know how effective the Soviets’ A2/AD strategy would have been because it was never tested in wartime. That’s not to say it wasn’t tested at all, as various American submarine commanders will tell you over a drink. Let’s hope that close encounters discussed at a Navy bar remain the only way these strategies are tested. Christopher Cowan is a research intern at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. This post first appeared on ASPI’s blog, The Strategist. #A2AD #China #NATO #SovietNavy #CBG #SSBN

  • The ADF after Islamic State – Alan Stephens

    US President Barack Obama recently suggested that the leaders of Islamic State “know they will lose in Syria and Iraq”, and that consequently they’re already “shifting their strategy” to accommodate that impending battlefield defeat. President Obama’s assessment was later repeated by the commander of Australia’s training mission in Iraq, who predicted victory by August 2017. This is a remarkable turn of events. Only two years ago IS seemed to be carrying all before it as it swept aside local armies, made vast territorial gains, declared the establishment of a geographic “caliphate”, and threatened to occupy Baghdad. Islamic State’s unforeseen rise was precipitated by the West’s ill-considered series of invasions of the Middle East over the past twenty years, and the social, political, economic and religious tensions unleashed by the disruption of established orders and the (resented) presence in the region of large numbers of foreign troops. IS’s impending demise as a geographic entity has been in part attributable to the US’s abandonment of the failed cult of counterinsurgency warfare, and to the implementation by the Obama Administration of a fundamentally different approach to military operations in the Middle East. Two aspects of that approach have been critical. First, most of the occupying soldiers have been withdrawn. This means that the fighting on the ground, which has remained savage and intense, has become the responsibility of local armies and militias; that is, of forces that actually can “fight amongst the [their] people”. It has been an exceptional achievement by the armies of the US and its allies, including Australia, to revive and to train those local armies and militias to the point where IS’s military defeat is likely. Second, having rejected Coin, the US has turned to what has arguably been its most successful model for the application of military force for the past two decades, namely, the combination of Special Forces and air power. SoF (whose operational characteristics in many respects mirror those of air power) contribute expert front-line assistance for local forces, real-time intelligence, target marking, and rapid precision strike. Air power, both manned and unmanned, hits strategic targets and provides near-on demand close attack for local ground forces. Air severely limits IS’s ability to mass or to move in vehicles, and strikes at the head of the IS snake through the controversial but highly effective campaign of decapitation of the enemy leadership. That approach in turn has allowed anti-IS forces to contain, then degrade, then take the initiative. It is a model distinguished by its emphasis on information dominance, decision-making superiority, and controlling the tempo of operations. Maximising the West’s greatest military comparative advantages, it is the antithesis of strategy based on mass, close-up fighting, the presumed need to hold ground, and implausible social engineering. However – and it’s a big however – the SoF/airpower model of force application is situation-specific. Thus, as IS slides towards geographic defeat and increasingly turns to the wider use of terrorist attacks in Western cities, our defence forces will need to develop new attitudes. Which raises the question: as Australia’s involvement in wars in the Middle East at last seems closer to the finish than to the start, what comes next for the ADF and our defence strategy? For some twenty years we’ve been fighting as junior partners with little, if any, voice in the military strategy/ies we’ve been trying to execute. Will that change? Will we actually have an officially articulated military strategy? Do we even need one? You’d hope that the answer to all three questions would be “yes”, and that we’d move beyond the era of strategic drift that has characterised ADF operations since the invasion of Vietnam in the early-1960s. Some commentators would contend that Australia hasn’t had an independent defence posture since Federation in 1901: that we’ve simply followed the lead of the UK and then the US. Others might point to the brief period in the late-1980s when the so-called “Defence of Australia” strategy required the ADF to focus on “controlling” events in the air and sea approaches to our north and north-west. That strategy was vigorously opposed by the Australian Army, presumably because its innate maritime nature implied a diminished role for land forces. Army’s equally vigorous promotion of counterinsurgency warfare, which by definition entailed expeditionary operations, might be seen as an opportunistic corollary to its dislike of a maritime (air and sea) strategy. Recently the Director-General Army Modernisation for the Australian Army seemed to endorse the development of an anti-access/area denial strategy for Australia, an approach which in practice bears a strong resemblance to the Defence of Australia concept. Perhaps Army’s apparent change of heart is related to the ADF’s acquisition of two very large “Amphibious Assault Ships” (which started life with the entirely different role descriptor of “Landing Helicopter Dock”); perhaps the generals who opposed the Defence of Australia policy in the past were wrong; or perhaps there’s another reason altogether. Whatever that reason may be, the point to take away here is that as the ADF starts to transition towards a post-IS, post-Coin posture, the development of military strategy must be both objective and genuinely joint. Dr Alan Stephens is a Fellow of the Sir Richard Williams Foundation

  • Test Pilot Report, F-35 – Major Morten Hanche, RNoAF

    “After neutralizing this advanced surface based air defense system [our flight of four F-35s] destroyed four additional targets. Suffice to say that this mission would have been close to suicide with a four-ship of F-16s alone!” This post was first published by Kampflybloggen (The Combat Aircraft Blog), the official blog of the Norwegian F-35 Program Office within the Norwegian Ministry of Defence. The author, Major Morten “Dolby” Hanche, has more than 2200 hours in the F-16, is a U.S. Navy Test Pilot School graduate, and on 10 November 2015 became the first Norwegian to fly the F-35. He now serves as an instructor pilot with the 62nd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. Yet again, information from the Director Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E) has stirred critics into a frenzy over the F-35. The fact that the information was leaked seems to have agitated people even more. (We have our hands on classified documents! Now we know it all!) Yet again, the leaked memo described aspects of the F-35 which need improvement. Yet again, the report resulted in press articles which painted a pretty sinister picture of the F-35. The article featured in POGO (“F-35 May Never Be Ready for Combat”) serves as one such example. I finished up writing this article before getting ready to fly another sortie in the F-35. Based on my own experiences flying the F-35A, I feel that the media’s interpretation of the previous DOT&E report is influenced heavily by unrealistic expectations – something which seems to be a trend. I don’t see the point in countering every claim that’s being brought up. First off, it’d make for a very long article. Secondly, I would not be dealing with the bigger problem, which in my mind is a lack of understanding. I fully expect the F-35’s most hardened critics to discount this article, regardless of what I write. However, some may choose to believe my story, based on the fact that I know the airplane and its capabilities as a pilot. I don’t make my claims based on bits and pieces of information, derived from potentially unreliable sources. They are based on experience actually flying and training with the jet for nearly a year. My goal is to shed some light on airplane development and testing; why we test, what we discover in testing and what a test report may result in. I write this based on my own experience, both through education at the US Naval Test Pilot School, but more importantly through working with the F-16 and the F-35, both operationally and in test settings. What smartphones tell us about technology development I’ll start with smartphones, as another example of technology development. Admittedly, phones are somewhat different from a fighter airplane, but there are similarities. A smartphone is a complex system of systems – just like a fighter jet. The phones keep evolving with both new hard- and software. It is not unheard of therefore that the manufacturers issue updates. Updates which provide new capabilities, but which also aim to correct previous errors. According to Wikipedia, Apple released its iOS 9.0 operating system to their iPhones and iPads on 16 September 2015. The 9.0.1 update was issued already on 23 September, followed closely by the 9.0.2 update on 30 September. Then 9.1 on 21 October and 9.2 on 8 December 2015. Such a frequent update rate might indicate that not everything worked perfectly from the start. Still, wouldn’t it be a bit harsh to claim that the phones didn’t work with the first four software versions? Might the truth be a little more nuanced? Can a smartphone be a good product, even if it doesn’t work 100% from day one? Does a smartphone ever work 100%? I have experienced various strange occurrences with my phones over the years. Still, for me, having a phone with all its peculiarities has been more useful than the alternative – not having a phone. This isn’t an article about phones. The point I’m trying to make is that technology development and testing is a series of compromises; compromises in reliability, in performance and in quality. Only rarely is the world black or white. A machine may work well, even if it doesn’t fulfill all specifications. I’ll go on with a brief intro to how we typically test. How we test a fighter jet Testing of combat aircraft typically sees a distinction between Developmental Test (DT) and Operational Test (OT). In short we can say that DT seeks to answer whether the machine works according to the design specifications, whether the machine is safe to operate and what its safe operating limits end up being. OT on the other hand seeks to find out whether the machine can solve a particular task, like: Is the XYZ able to provide effective Close Air Support, in the presence of threat A, B and C? The test program for a machine like the F-35 is an enormous undertaking. The contours of the F-35’s test program are described top-level in the Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP), totalling 1400 pages. Each sub-test in the TEMP results in a detailed test plan for that event. Especially in DT, a test flight is literally planned down to the minute, in order to accomplish as many test points as quickly and safely as possible. Flight testing is an expensive undertaking. A test program should discover most important errors and flaws. However, time and resources available make it unrealistic to uncover every single issue. Risk is mitigated by testing the most critical components, like the engine in a single-engine fighter, to stricter tolerances. The amount of testing is a statistically driven decision. We know that there are things we don’t know, even at the completion of testing. We also know that there are likely few gross or dangerous errors which haven’t been found. Each error we find during testing is documented and characterized. The language and format used is to the point. The test engineer and test pilot type up their findings and typically describe the situation “in a vacuum” – without regard for how costly or difficult it might be to address the issue. Each issue is then related to the mission – how will this quality or problem affect the given task? Such a test report might read something like: “The SuperToaster 3000 was evaluated for uniform heat distribution and time to crispy toast, at the National Toast Center of Excellence, with room temperatures varying between 65 and 75 deg F. The toasting temperature was selected by turning a dial on the front of the toaster. Even with full crispiness selected, the toaster’s maximum temperature was low, and toasting of even the thinnest slices of white bread took more than 10 minutes. During early morning breakfasts, the time consuming toasting process will result in cranky parents, the kids being dropped off late for school and correspondingly negative effects on their grades and later career opportunities.” This mission relation was probably a little over-the-top – a little like how some media articles relate its titbits of information to an imagined F-35 mission. In isolation, a system may not work as advertised, but could there be a workaround? (In the toaster-case, maybe cereal for breakfast?) Anyway, after the issue is documented, the errors are then catalogued, debated and prioritized. Test engineers, test pilots, design engineers and customer representatives are often involved in the dialogue that follows when something undesirable is discovered. Together, these will have to agree on a path forward.  Completely understanding the issue is crucial. Alternatives could be a re-design, accepting the flaw, mitigating the flaw procedurally or compensating by documenting the issue better. The team will have to compromise when prioritizing. Even when developing a new fighter jet, there are limits to what can be fixed, based on cost, time available, test resources available and also the complexity of the problem. Altogether, development and testing is an iterative process, where adjustments may have to take place during DT, OT or after the system is put into operational service. Where are we with the F-35? What is then the current state of the F-35? Is it really as bad as the commentaries to the DOT&E report and DOT&E memo might indicate? Personally, I am impressed by the F-35. I was relieved to experience just how well the F-35 performs with regard to speed, ceiling, range and maneuverability. It would have been very problematic if the airplane’s performance didn’t hold up in these areas – there’s just no software update which is going to compensate a draggy airframe or a weak engine. (Read more about such a case in the Government Accountability Office, then the General Accounting Office´s report on the Super Hornet). When asked about my first flight in the F-35, I compared it to flying a Hornet (F/A-18), but with a turbo charged engine. I now can quote a USMC F/A-18 Weapons School Graduate after his first flight in the F-35: “It was like flying a Hornet with four engines!” (His point being that the F-35 can afford to operate at high Angle-of-Attack and low airspeed, but that it will regain the airspeed quickly when needed). Another unintended, but illustrating example on performance came a few weeks back, when a student pilot failed to recognize that he had climbed through our temporary altitude restriction at 40,000′. The F-35 will happily climb past that altitude. Another critical aspect of the F-35 is its minimal radar signature. Just as with the aerodynamic performance, the stealthiness of the F-35 is an inherent quality of the airframe itself. There would be no quick-fix to a disappointing signature. So far, my impression is that the F-35 is very difficult to find. We see this every day when training with the F-35; we detect the F-16s flying in the local airspace at vast ranges, compared to when we detect another F-35. Sensor stability, and specifically radar stability, has been an issue. I’m not trying to downplay that the radar’s stability needs to improve, but I am not worried. What would have worried me was if the radar had poor detection range, or if the stability issues were caused by external factors like limited electrical power supply or limited cooling available. Fortunately, our biggest issues are related to software, and not performance.  I think it’s realistic to expect software issues like this to be resolved (just like iOS 9 eventually ended up working well). Remember that we’re not trying to re-create another Fourth Gen fighter in the F-35. If we had set our aim lower, we’d likely have had an easier job of developing the airplane – it would have been easier to build the F-16 again today.  But is that what we need? The F-35’s specifications are ambitious, and reflect a machine which will outperform the previous generation of fighters.  Having or not having that kind of military advantage eventually becomes a political question.  For now, our leaders think we need that military edge. In this context, I would like to bring up another point. The F-35 is in its infancy as a weapons system. Yet it is being compared to mature systems like the F-16. The F-16 has been developed and improved for more than 40 years. Correspondingly, certain aspects of the F-16 are more mature than the F-35 at this time. Having said that, I will caution readers against believing that other mature fighters are without their issues. There has been an unprecedented openness about the F-35’s development. The DOT&E report is one example on how media has gained insight into the F-35 Program. I still ask; do those who write critical articles about the program have a realistic baseline, from which they can reasonably assess the F-35? Next, I’ll give some examples which have influenced at least my own baseline. The sometimes messy world of fighter development Many will agree that the F-16 has been a successful fighter design. The fact that it has been continuously produced since the 1970s should speak for itself. The fighter has come a long way from where it originally started: as a day-only dogfighter, equipped with heat-seeking missiles. (How would that mission set compare to a post System Development & Demonstration Block 3F F-35 and its mission sets?) Modifications to the “fully developed” F-16 started right away. One early visible modification was the replacement of the horizontal stabilizers with larger stabs, in order to reduce the F-16’s susceptibility to go out of control during aggressive maneuvering at high Angles-of-Attack (AOA). Going out of control is a bad thing, and could lead to loss of both the jet and its pilot. Since then, the F-16 has kept evolving through many different programs, aimed at improving both structural life and combat capabilities. Other fighters also bear visible marks of error correction. The Hornet-family provides some good examples of aerodynamic band aids. An example from the F/A-18 “Baby Hornet” is the vertical fences mounted on each side of the machine, just aft of the cockpit. These were eventually added to mitigate stress on the vertical tails, which caused their supporting structure to fail. Another example from the Baby Hornet is how the stabs and rudders are driven to full deflection before takeoff. This modification was necessary to enable the Hornet to lift its nose during takeoff roll. The “band aid” added drag during the takeoff roll. Thus, the takeoff roll increased in distance, but no more than what was considered acceptable. The band aid was an easy workaround to what could have been a very costly re-design of the airplane – compromises… The more modern Super Hornet has a porous fairing where the wing-fold mechanism is located. This was fitted in an attempt to alleviate a problem termed “wing drop”. The wing drop in the Super Hornet was described as an abrupt and uncommanded roll, which hampered air combat maneuvering. The band aid partially fixed the wing drop issue, but at the same time introduced other problems related to reduced range and increased buffet levels. These were still deemed acceptable trade-offs – compromises… Even today, our modern-day F-16s live with many issues; errors which were discovered in DT, OT or operational use, but which haven’t been corrected. Either because of prohibitive cost, complexity or because no one understands the failure mechanism – what is causing the problem. I’m not just talking about cosmetic or minor issues. One example is that the Norwegian Armed Forces for a period of about 10 years could not operate its F-16s in single ship formations, in bad weather or at night. The restriction was put in place because the Main Mission Computer (MMC) broke down relatively often. The resulting operational limitations hampered both training and operations. It took more than 10 years to diagnose and correct the issue, mainly because the failure mechanism was elusive. The most outspoken critics of the F-35 couldn’t have known about our issues with the MMC in the F-16 at the time. If they did, and read that deficiency report, would they have concluded that our F-16s were non-operational, and incapable of fulfilling their mission? I’m tempted to think so, based on how isolated pieces of information about the F-35 often are misinterpreted and taken out of context. Would they have been right in their conclusion? I don’t think anyone could have made that conclusion, based on just the fact that the MMC sometimes crashes. The reality I know, working with fighters all my life, is not black or white. There are nuances. We work around and overcome problems. Our F-16s still have issues today which will never be corrected. This is not dramatic or unexpected. The normal state of affairs for a fighter is that we operate in spite of issues with structure, sensors, software and logistics. We’re normally able to work around the major problems while we devise long-term solutions. Some issues are temporary. Some end up being permanent. Compromises… (I personally wouldn´t believe the salesperson claiming to offer a fighter jet which had zero issues). I said I wouldn’t quibble over individual factual errors which the F-35’s critics present as truth. To me, a compelling argument for how well the F-35 works is evident by what we’re able to do in training. Three weeks back I was part of a four-ship flight of F-35s. Our mission was to overcome an advanced airborne threat, while locating and destroying an equally advanced surface based air defense system. After neutralizing these threats, we destroyed four additional targets. All this prior to receiving the Block 3F capabilities. Suffice to say that this mission would have been close to suicide with a four-ship of F-16s alone!

  • The F-35 and the Transformation of Power Projection Forces – Robbin Laird

    The F-35 Lightning II has been operational with the USMC for more than a year, with the USAF for several months, and is nearing introduction into the USN. These services see the F-35 not merely as a new capability, but as part of a much broader transformation of the power projection force. It is timely to review the perspectives of the US services and their allies, including Australia, on the impact of fifth generation-enabled combat capabilities. In general, there is a convergence of thinking about the broad strategic direction of the reshaping of power projection forces, but a diversity of approaches with regard to how best to achieve change. Twenty-first century warfare concepts of operations, technology, tactics and training are in both evolution and revolution. The F-35 is at the heart of this change for a very simple reason – it is a revolutionary platform. The F-35 will make combat aviation history with its first-of-kind sensor fusion cockpit. The jet is far more than an “F” – a “fighter” – it is in fact an “F/A/E”, effective in air-to-air, air-to-ground, and electronic warfare, all in the same mission if necessary. Allied and US combat pilots will develop new tactics and training; and over time this will drive changes that leaders must make for effective command and control to fight future battles. An issue has been that the F-35 has been labelled a “fifth generation” aircraft, a sensible demarcation when the F-22 was being introduced a decade ago. But the evolution of the combat systems on the F-35, the role of the fusion engine, and the impact of a fleet of integrated F-35s operating as a foundational element will make the description “5th Gen” obsolete. The F-35 is, rather, the first of a new generation of design features and airborne capabilities that will change everything. It is a first generation information and decision making superiority “flying combat system”. The global fleet of F-35s will be the “1st Gen” for building a foundation for a fundamental change in the way air power operates in overall combat concepts of operations. This is not about a single aircraft platform; it is about what an integrated fleet of F-35s can deliver to transform everything. The coming decade will be very innovative. Combat warriors at all ranks can leverage what they learn and then apply those lessons to reshaping the force over and over. The impact of an integrated fleet of F-35s with fused internal pilot combat data and a distributed information flow out will allow the US and its allies to rethink how to do 21st century air-enabled operations. Each F-35 will be able to network and direct engagements in 360 degrees of three-dimensional space by offloading tracks to other air/land/sea platforms including UAVs and robots. The most overlooked aspect of the roll-out of the F-35 is its global nature. This will become more apparent as the three US services and their allies concurrently roll-out their F-35s and sort out how their new air systems are transforming their forces. The F-35 is not an airplane; it is a global air combat system. Looking forward to the time when US forces and their allies have substantial numbers of F-35s flying in the Pacific, the commander of the USAF’s Air Combat Command, General Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, envisaged “an American and allied CAOC (Combined Air Operations Center) …  sharing a common operating picture [and becoming] become more effective tactically and strategically throughout the area of operations”. Although the F-35 is a US aircraft, it has significant foreign content provided by an integrated global network of suppliers. With the introduction of F-35s globally comes the nascent global sustainment enterprise. Air forces are working-out ways to leverage the commonality in the aircraft and the support structure to sustain them in combat. It is a nascent effort, but is already laying down building blocks such as sustainment enterprises in Europe and Asia to support the partners, and the operation of US forces from regional support centres, such as those being built by the Italians, the Dutch or the Australians. The roll-out of the aircraft is built upon a common logistics enterprise shaping a global sustainment effort similar to that of the successful the C-17 global enterprise. Global defence industry, not just the US defence industry, is significant to building and sustaining the F-35. About 30% of the F-35 fleet will be built with foreign content, and the maintainability will rest on best practice from global suppliers. The F-35 logistics enterprise will not simply be forced to rely on sole-source suppliers for any number of key parts produced globally. And with the system to identify parts, the performance of those parts will be put to the test and the better performing parts suppliers determined by performance in combat and in operations, not simply by a procurement bureaucracy. The US’s F-35 partner countries are Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, and the UK. And there are a number of other countries buying the aircraft via the more traditional Foreign Military Sales acquisition route, including Japan, South Korea, Israel and possibly Singapore. Each of those countries is buying the F-35 as part of their overall efforts to reshape 21st century defense forces. The global nature of this fleet will be a trigger for change, and key allies are looking at an F-35 enabled defence transformation. Leveraging this transformation, rather than pursuing the traditional stove-piped approach to platform modernization and upgrade, will be the essential catalyst for subsequent platform acquisitions. The decade ahead will be one of significant technological, strategic, and tactical innovation, which in turn will set the base for future systems. Dr Robbin F. Laird is a military and security analyst who has taught at Columbia, Princeton and Johns Hopkins universities, and has worked for the Center for Defense Analyses and the Institute for Defense Analyses.

  • Reduce Flying Hours at Your Peril: Increased Accident Rates in the USN and USMC – Gary Waters

    The decline in USN and USMC non-deployed flying rates are a cause for concern, as demonstrated by increased home station accident rates. Fixing the problem will take time. Concern has arisen over an increase in aircraft crashes in 2016, particularly USN and USMC F/A-18C Hornets and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. Since May, four Hornet or Super Hornet crashes involving non-deployed units killed two pilots and destroyed five aircraft. Reporting indicates that these crashes are part of a sharp increase in military aviation accidents overall for non-deployed squadrons, which have absorbed the bulk of budget cuts through reduced training and delayed maintenance at home so the best aircraft and personnel can be used on deployment overseas. A major accident is defined as an incident that causes at least $50,000 in damage and in some cases leads to injury, death or the loss of the aircraft. Since 2012, the number of major Navy and Marine Hornet and Super Hornet accidents has increased 44 percent, according to data collected by the Naval Safety Centre in Norfolk, Va. As a result, there are calls for funding to be significantly increased in order to restore airframe availability and pilot proficiency, and support current operations, or for operational tempo to be drastically reduced. The Navy and Marines rank the top three most damaging aviation accidents as Class A through C. Class A is the highest level of crash and means a pilot was killed or permanently disabled or the aircraft sustained at least $2 million in damage. Since sequestration (automatic federal spending cuts contained in the Budget Control Act of 2011, which started to take effect from March 2013), the number of Class A through C accidents involving Hornets or Super Hornets has increased from 57 in fiscal year 2012 to 82 as of 2 August in the current fiscal year (2016), according to data from the Naval Safety Centre. Not only Hornets or Super Hornets have been affected. Across the board, the number of Navy and Marine aircraft lost in accidents has doubled during the first 11 months of fiscal year 2016 compared to the same time in 2015. Twenty aircraft had been destroyed as of 29 August, compared to 10 aircraft during the same time in 2015, according to Naval Safety Centre data. A recent set of crashes has focused attention. On 2 August, a Navy pilot safely ejected after the F/A-18C he was flying experienced an engine fire at Nevada’s Naval Air Station Fallon. A Marine pilot was killed on 28 July when the F/A-18C he was flying crashed near Twentynine Palms in California during a night-time training mission. A crash in June of another F/A-18C during a Blue Angels practice flight killed another Marine pilot. Two Super Hornet F/A-18E/F aircraft collided in May during a training mission off the coast of North Carolina. The four crew-members ejected and were rescued. According to data from the Naval Safety Centre, the overall number of flight hours for the Marines and Navy has been relatively steady over the past few years. However, deployed operations have taken up an increasing share of those flight hours over home training operations, which means non-deployed pilots are not flying very much. The minimum number of hours a Navy/Marine pilot needs to fly each month to stay safe is 11. The Marines reached a low point for F/A-18 Hornet flight hours last summer, when it averaged 8.8 hours per month per pilot for non-deployed squadrons. Increased funding and an emphasis to improve readiness has increased that average to 11.1 as of August 2016. The average flight hours for the Navy for the non-deployed squadrons is 12 to 14 hours a month, although there are probably some whose average is down to 9 or less. Experience indicates that a pilot needs to fly at least three times a week to maintain readiness. Twice a week isn’t enough. A lack of flying time does add to the rise in accidents. Increased use of aircraft has required more repairs, or aged some beyond their useful lives. In mid-2016, of the Marines’ 276 Hornets, only 87 were available for missions. Out of those, 30 were allocated to the training squadron and 40 were allocated for deployment. That left only 17 for the units to train with during the day. Of the Navy’s 259 Hornets, 55 were mission-capable (able to perform at least one and potentially all of its missions). Of the Navy’s 544 Super Hornets, 290 were mission-capable. The Navy planned to stop buying Super Hornets in anticipation of the arrival of the F-35C. As the F-35 program faced delays and setbacks, it was unable to relieve pressure from the F/A-18. As a result, the older Hornets are reaching the end of their service life faster, and newer Super Hornets are aging more quickly than the Navy planned. To address that, the Navy is extending the aircraft to last 8,000 hours of flight time, and in some cases, 10,000 hours. The F/A-18 Hornet was originally designed for a 6,000-hour service life. A fix won’t be quick, as the Navy and Marines deal with the limitations caused by funding cuts. It will take time to recover from the significant challenges they have faced in recent years. Gary Waters spent 33 years in the RAAF, resigning as an air commodore and joining the Australian Public Service at the Senior Executive level. After four years in the public service, Gary became head of strategy for the Australian arm of a global defence company, retiring seven years later. He now consults on a part-time basis. He has a PhD in political science and international relations and has written extensively on defence, air power and cyber issues.

  • “That’s not very joint”: Air power identity in joint operations

    "That’s not very joint” The quote came from a senior Air Force officer in response to a suggestion of mine. My suggestion was that Air Force elements on operations needed stronger air power identities if we wanted to tell the story of Australian air power better. No one suggests HMAS Perth or 7th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment handing over to 2nd Cavalry Regiment are not being “very joint” because they identify with their Service whilst on joint operations. But a look at the Air Task Group or the air elements on Operation ACCORDION tells a different story. This is but the latest example of Air Force elements’ Service identities being muffled on joint operations. The storied but Service-specific wing has become the anodyne task unit. At home, the Chief of Joint Operations’ principal airman has a title that makes him sound like a staff officer . If airmen want to meet the Chief’s challenge  to tell the story of Australian air power better, we must first be able to clearly identify “the air power element of every ADF operation.” The Air Force clearly recognises the importance of identity. In the past decade, successive Chiefs have taken steps to celebrate the Air Force’s heritage and build stronger Service identities, particularly amongst non-flying elements. Second World War Spitfire squadrons have been reformed to once again control the air, but this time as air traffic controllers. The famous No 460 Squadron – destroyed five times over during the Combined Bomber Offensive – again plays a key role in Air Force strike operations through its target intelligence mission. My experience as a member of a newly re-formed No 87 Squadron provided first-hand evidence of how important a unit’s history could be in establishing unit identity and cohesion. We hallowed Coomalie Creek as our spiritual home; we took pride in the unit’s achievements and that one of “our” Mosquitoes was displayed in the War Memorial. We built links to unit veterans and commemorated those on our unit’s roll of honour, resolving to build on their legacy. The story of our unit was vital in building it anew. But on operations, airmen seem to have to stifled their Air Force identity. Instead of air power-evoking flights, squadrons, and wings, our nomenclature has been task elements, task units, and task groups with a series of telephone numbers behind them. These task organisations are the doctrinally-correct but colourless labels for force elements that make up an ADF joint task force. HMAS Perth and Task Group 633.1 are both labels for the same unit, but one of them tells a much better story. Similarly, No 36 Squadron Detachment Iraq or 633 Air Lift Flight, or any number of alternatives would have been much more appealing – and intuitively related to air power – protagonists than Task Element 633.4.1.1 in the story of Australian C-130 operations in Iraq. Can I connect your call? Air Force elements in the Middle East as part of Joint Task Force 633 have gone through several nomenclature iterations since 2003. Separate task groups, an air component, then an air component coordination element, and now air mobility task group. Operation OKRA’s Air Task Group has continued this subdued approach to Air Force identity for the collective elements that together generate air power, embodied in this instance by F/A-18, E-7A, and KC-30A sorties. The collective is a task unit headed by a task unit headquarters. The only constant amongst these various labels has been a studious avoidance of the nomenclature that our major partner English-speaking air forces use to describe a formation of units that collectively generates air power: the Wing. Australian air power’s operational identity challenge is most apparent in the command and enabling elements that facilitate the collective coming together to generate, sustain, and conduct air power missions. Deployed elements drawn from formed units in Australia usually retain strong home-unit identities whilst on operations. But many Australian airmen deploy on operations as individual replacements or as part of a group cobbled together from disparate organisations for the duration of the deployment. For these airmen, there is no strong home identity to collectively take forward and their organisational identity on operations is all-too-often defined by its “otherness” compared with the formed units. Telling the story of the unglamorous but vital role played by mission planners in a wing headquarters is difficult enough without calling where they work a “TUHQ.” All the more so when your competition is fighter pilots from storied wartime squadrons. At a time when so much emphasis is placed on the importance of integrating Australia’s air power, we need to be able to better tell the story of all the pieces – individually and collectively – necessary to do just that. There are a few things we could do immediately to start character development for the story of contemporary Australian air power. Firstly, consign task organisations to the dustbin of doctrinal devotion and refer to individual air power elements on operations by their historic labels: flights and squadrons. Call the formations of units that collectively generate Australian air power on joint operations what they are: wings. Doing so would draw on history to reaffirm the collective’s central role in generating air power. Our sister Services, coalition partners, and the public at large will also stand a much better chance of intuitively recognising the “air power element of every ADF operation”. Secondly, make Director-General Air the commander of a re-formed No 9 or No 10 Operational Group. This group would serve as the Air Force’s operational group and the de facto air component of Joint Operations Command, formalising an existing arrangement but with a much clearer air power identity. This would also serve to better delineate between the Air Force’s operations and force generation responsibilities, much as the separation between Forces Command and the 1st Division does for the Army. The only argument against these steps is that they could be perceived as being “not very joint.” But wanting to see a robust air power identity on joint operations does not make one “not very joint”. Quite the contrary: joint operations are about leveraging the strengths of each domain to achieve common goals. They are founded upon exploiting and unifying domain expertise and identity, not suppressing them. The Air Force has taken positive steps in reinforcing Service identity and culture at home without diminishing the Service’s commitment to joint warfare. It needs to do the same on operations. If we want to tell the story of Australian air power on operations better – and we must – a crucial first step is being able to easily identify “the air power element of every ADF operation”. Squadron Leader Chris “Guiness” McInnes is an officer in the Royal Australian Air Force. He has served in the “other” bits of air operations repeatedly. The opinions expressed are his alone and do not reflect those of the Royal Australian Air Force, the Australian Defence Force, or the Australian Government.

  • Why do we have an Air Force? – Travis Hallen

    Why do we have an Air Force? In addressing that question, can we move beyond the “Justification Cycle”? Before you read any further into this post, I’d ask you to think about a response to the question posed in the title: Why do we have an Air Force? With your answer in mind, please read on. Answering the question of why Australia has an Air Force should be a simple matter for most Australian airmen. Were they to be asked, most would answer along one or both of two lines of reasoning: To capitalise on the efficiency and effectiveness gains associated with centralising air power in a single service, and To ensure the development of independent air power roles such as control of the air and strategic strike. Responses along these lines are a reflection of what Williams Foundation Scholar Stephen Edgeley has defined as the justification cycle: “an internal and external process that continuously requires that independent air forces demonstrate their ability to do more than participate in the joint battle”. They are responses that are indicative of an organisation seeking to justify its continued existence. The justification cycle is, in essence, a response to the question of “Why shouldn’t the Air Force be abolished?” Which, to be sure, is a useful response to have when facing existential threats to the organisation. But let’s be honest, within the Australian context at least, the existence of the Air Force is not in doubt. So if we are not required to justify the existence of the Air Force, why haven’t we broken free of the justification cycle? A definitive answer to that question is a worthy research subject in its own right, but it is not the focus of this post. Rather, the aim here is to explore an alternative perspective to the question of the Air Force’s raison d’être. Instead of focusing on what makes Air Force different, thereby justifying its independent existence, I propose that the more useful perspective is to identify what makes Air Force unique, and how that uniqueness makes a vital contribution to an effective joint force. This is an important semantic distinction. To date, the focus of Air Force’s existential self-reflection has been on what it does (the four core air power roles) and how it does is it (command and control). These nicely mirror the logic strands that fuel the justification cycle. But there is a problem: these roles and the organisational structures that are used to manage them are not unique to Air Force. The air warfare destroyer will bring Navy squarely into the control of the air game, Army special forces have the capacity to conduct precision strike missions, Army and Navy helicopters are important air mobility assets, and all three services have organic ISR capabilities. Similarly, the concept of “centralised control, decentralised execution”, the cornerstone of Air Force’s command and control philosophy, is reflected in the Army’s concept of mission command. So what Air Force does and how it does it are not necessarily useful in identifying its unique contribution. What is useful, however, is an appreciation of how the features of the Air Force’s primary operating environment necessitate a unique way of thinking. This is a concept known as “airmindedness.” It is important here not to conflate airmindnesses with an inherently strategic mindset; the former in no way implies the latter. Airmindedness is a product of operating in a multi-dimensional domain that forces a change in perspective, extends the reach of potential influence, and demands flexibility in application. Exploiting these and the other characteristics of air power are the core tactical trade of the Australian airmen. But there is more to it than this. Air Force’s contribution to the joint fight is not limited to the highly visible presence of aircraft, it also permeates the planning and decision making process before, during and after the fight. The development and analysis of strategies, options, and courses of action undoubtedly benefit from the diversity of perspectives that are involved. Soldiers, sailors and airmen see the world differently, and this is not a bad thing. Joint should not become synonymous with homogeneity, but should be viewed as a form of operational and strategic diversity. For too long we have focused on persistent inter-service rivalry as a battle for budgets and not seen it for what it truly is, the natural consequence of a difference of perspective, opinion, and approach. Such differences should be encouraged not suppressed. One of the ways in which it is encouraged is by providing airmen with an organisational environment that promotes the development of airmindedness. Adopting this view, the answer to the question of why the Air Force exists can explore a different line of reasoning: Air Force exists as much to cultivate the minds of airmen so that they may exploit the unique characteristics of the air domain as it does to develop the machines that they use to do so. Without doubt, some who have read this post will disagree with my assertions based on their own thoughts regarding the way Air Force and its members define their role. In which case, my objective has been achieved, as this is the necessary first step in Air Force evolving its self-awareness from the justification cycle to a true understanding that its unique contribution to the joint fight lies not only in its machines but also in the minds of its airmen. Squadron Leader Travis Hallen is an Air Combat Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force. He is also a Sir Richard Williams Foundation Scholar and editor at The Central Blue. The opinions expressed are his alone and do not reflect those of the Royal Australian Air Force, the Australian Defence Force, or the Australian Government.

  • Some thoughts on strategy – Alan Stephens

    “Strategy” is one of those words that’s used so widely and in so many different contexts that it often seems to generate confusion. That doesn’t need to be the case, as the nature of Australia’s long-running involvement in the wars in the Middle East can be used to illustrate. Writing in the Fairfax media several months ago about the West’s 15-years-and-counting war in Afghanistan, former chief of Army, now University of Canberra professor, Peter Leahy stated that, “Over time, our politicians did not tell us much of our strategy. There is a good excuse – we didn’t have one”. Professor Leahy’s assertion warrants examination at several levels. First, at the national (grand) strategic level, Australia unquestionably had a strategy, which was to serve our perceived interests by supporting our major ally, the United States. Indeed, that approach has been a constant in our defence policy for more than one hundred years, since federation. In the case of Afghanistan, it could also reasonably be argued that it was in our interest to oppose the danger represented by the Taliban and, more generally, by Islamic extremism, as far away from home as possible. Second, at the military (operational) level, we also had a strategy, namely, the theory of counter-insurgency warfare. Promoted zealously by Western generals since World War II, Coin operations were supposed to secure victory by “isolating” the enemy, “pacifying” hostile populations, “winning hearts and minds”, and so on. But in wars in Algeria, Somalia, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, Coin has been exposed as an intellectually unsustainable theory: as nothing more than a series of hollow slogans. In every case, the end result was a gradual slide into military failure, which in turn caused the gradual loss of public and, therefore, political support at home. The reason for that failure is not difficult to identify. Again in every case, Western strategists were extraordinarily dismissive of the values of the countries their forces invaded. What was their history? What did their dominant religious beliefs imply? What did their thousands of years of distinctive social morés indicate? How had previous invasions fared? How did they regard the West? And so on. The fact is that it is very hard to “fight amongst the people” when most of those people don’t want you there. In short, the West, including Australia, did have a strategy in Afghanistan, it’s just that it wasn’t a very good one. Professor Leahy also criticised the Australian government for not identifying an “end-state” for the war in Afghanistan. But the dogma that strategy must have a clearly-defined end-state is another questionable proposition. In an ideal world, establishing an optimal end-state is a good thing. But “ideal” scarcely describes the situation in Afghanistan, or Iraq-Syria, which by any measure is complex in the extreme. And in the real world, it is infinitely better to be flexible than to cling to a thoroughly bad plan. Thus, the end-state defined by the second Bush Administration prior to the invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 of to “win” (whatever that might mean) and to “establish democracy” were unrealistic. Ideology had usurped rational analysis. It should not have been a surprise that West’s strategy failed in both instances, as it had thirty years before in Vietnam. Under the Obama Administration, since about 2010, the West’s military strategy in Afghanistan and Iraq-Syria implicitly has changed to one of containment; that is, of containing the damage at an acceptable cost to the US and its allies while the core issues that are now driving those conflicts – civil war, religious war, and regional power struggles – play themselves out. In the circumstances, that is a reasonable objective. Indeed, such is the extent of the mess on the ground that restraining what’s happening is not merely the West’s best option, it’s pretty well the only one. It’s consistent with the objective circumstances in the Middle East; and it’s realistic in terms of what the West can do, as opposed to what it might like to do. There’s a clear message here for the people who determine Australian defence strategy. Dr Alan Stephens is a fellow of the Williams Foundation.

  • Williams Foundation submission to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee

    On 2 December 2015, the Senate referred the following matter to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiry and report by 1 May 2016.  On 17 March 2016, the Senate extended the reporting date for the inquiry to 29 June 2016. The planned acquisition of the F-35 Lightning II (Joint Strike Fighter). Read Williams Foundation submission to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, the planned acquisition of the F-35 Lightning II (Joint Strike Fighter). Download here:

  • Media Release: Launch of Air Power Scholars for Next Generation of Leaders

    The Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies, AO, CSC today launched the Air Power Scholar program as part of a cooperative endeavour with the Sir Richard Williams Foundation at the 2016 Air Power Conference in Canberra. Photo: Department of Defence Air Marshal Leo Davies said that the Air Power Scholars program aims to develop a small group of Air Force Officers with intellectual skills, theoretical knowledge and practical experience. “The program will improve the capability of Air Force to shape strategic planning and policy development relating to air power, and improve Air Force’s influence on strategy and security in Australia. “The five officers will be provided with an opportunity to take around 12 months full-time research/study leave from the Air Force, with the caveat that only one officer in the program will receive this study leave each year,” Air Marshal Davies explained. The Williams Foundation will award a scholarship of up to $20,000 each year of the program to the candidate undertaking the full-time study. This payment will assist the scholars with expenses associated with their academic program and will contribute to consultancy fees for a program mentor, initially Dr. Alan Stephens. Williams Foundation Board Chairman, Air Marshal Errol McCormack AO (ret’d) said that the Williams Foundation is proud to support the Air Power Scholar program. “This agreement with the Air Force will enable the Foundation to formally support scholars in their further education and thus strengthen the level of debate on military aviation issues,” Air Marshal Errol McCormack (ret’d) said. The selected candidates will be known as Sir Richard Williams Foundation Scholars. This five year pilot program will support the five selected Air Force officers to undertake PhD studies. The program is planned as a pilot with a mid-term review to be conducted after the third year. The first scholars are: WGCDR Jarrod Pendlebury The Dawn Horizon: Constructing an Air Force Identity at the Australian Defence Force Academy University of Sydney Anticipate completion in December 2018 GPCAPT Steve Edgeley Title TBA Subject: That recent changes in the operational environment have required the RAAF to focus on the application of joint effects, this change in operational focus has led to cultural and organisational changes that make it an imperative to embrace jointness. University of New South Wales Anticipate completion in December 2019 SQNLDR Travis Hallen The gatekeepers: The development of Royal Australian Air Force maritime patrol during the Cold War Australian National University Anticipate completion in December 2021 GPCAPT Phillip Champion Title TBA Subject: That the Western experience of protracted land campaigns in the Middle East since 1991 has led to a new model of air/land warfare.  University application underway Anticipate completion mid-2018. WGCDR Jason Begley Soft Options for a Hard Issue Subject: assess the degree to which Air Force effectively projects soft power and whether there are viable opportunities for it to improve. University of New South Wales Anticipate completion in December 2019

  • Submission to Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee

    Williams Foundation submission to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, the planned acquisition of the F-35 Lightning II (Joint Strike Fighter). On 2 December 2015, the Senate referred the following matter to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiry and report by 1 May 2016. On 17 March 2016, the Senate extended the reporting date for the inquiry to 29 June 2016. The planned acquisition of the F-35 Lightning II (Joint Strike Fighter). Download Pdf

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