Air

What does Integrated Air Missile Defence (IAMD) look like for the RAAF, indeed, what's the next step of Integrated Missile Defence (IMD) for the wider ADF?

One of the next major aircraft acquisition programs to be undertaken by Defence is not listed in the public version of the White Paper or Integrated Investment Plan. The RAAF fleet of Special Purpose Aircraft (SPA) is based in Canberra and due for replacement over the next two years or so.

The numerous major Defence acquisition projects currently underway in the Air domain are by and large on track to deliver capability against present schedules.

A breakthrough in artificial intelligence is set to revolutionise aerial combat, specifically the mix of fifth generation fighters and long distance missiles which characterises modern day air warfare.

Often described as the ADF’s largest airpower exercise, the biennial Pitch Black exercise was again held in the Top End in July and August.

Over the next decade the ADF and intelligence community will benefit from an exponential increase in the volume and quality of regional ISREW information.

One of the capabilities foreshadowed by the recent Defence White Paper and associated Integrated Investment Program is the acquisition of an armed Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAS.

It was the contract that never seemed to end but the Commonwealth and Team 21, a joint effort of Lockheed Martin, Pilatus and Hawker Pacific, have finally signed Air 5428.

The RAAF’s Air Mobility Group has enjoyed a busy 12 months, in which it has continued to enable and support operations in the Middle East, introduce new aircraft and roll-out an ongoing series of upgrades aimed at maximising existing capability.

Should Canada withdraw from the nine-nation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, the additional cost to Australia of its JSF purchases will be about $USD1 million per airframe, according to Air Vice Marshal Chris Deeble.

Most stories about Air Force capability tend to focus on either the platforms themselves, or in the case of the combat elements, the weapons they employ, but underpinning all of this capability is the engineering and maintenance system.

Delays in the introduction of the MRH90 Taipan multirole helicopter have triggered a second life extension for more than half the Army’s Black Hawk fleet, the last of which will now remain in service in the special operations role until 2021.

The past 12 months have been a busy time for Air projects and there are further milestones ahead in 2016.

Instrumenting aircraft to collect certification, continued airworthiness and mission effectiveness data is a critical enabler towards the successful management and development of the RAAF's aerospace capability, but the cost of such work has traditionally been prohibitive and time consuming. The ‘NIFTY’ wireless sensor system is set to change all that.

The RAAF's first EA-18G Growler has been handed over in a ceremony at Boeing's St. Louis facility. Destined for 6 Squadron, the aircraft is the first of 12 Growlers to complement 24 Super Hornets already in service. All 12 aircraft are due to be in country by the end of 2017.